SK Telecom (SKT), the largest mobile operator in South Korea, announced plans to introduce a messaging service based on the Rich Communication Services (RCS) standard, as it aims to take market share from the country’s leading messaging app Kakao Talk.

The operator, with a nearly 48 per cent share of the country’s mobile connections, said the service will be available on Samsung Galaxy Note 9, S9 and S9+ models in the first half of the year.

It will allow SKT to compete directly against Kakao Talk, the near-monopoly messaging platform in South Korea. SKT said it plans to develop interoperability with the country’s three mobile networks by end-June so all subscribers can use the service.

Unlike SMS, RCS offers enhanced features including group chat, video and media sharing facilities without the need to download an OTT app. It also enables more efficient delivery of video.

In September 2018 Samsung and Google announced they were working together to ensure Android Messages and Samsung Messages work seamlessly with each company’s RCS technology, including cloud and business messaging platforms.

Growing reach
RCS has been adopted by more than 50 operators around the world. GSMA Intelligence estimates the RCS business messaging market will be worth $74 billion by 2021.

Japan’s three major mobile operators in May 2018 launched an RCS-based service.