Advent of OTT Messaging in India

Communication has transcended traditional boundaries, giving rise to Over-the-Top (OTT) messaging apps that offer rich media experiences far beyond simple text messages. Platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Truecaller Business Messaging, and RCS Business Messaging have become integral to both personal and professional communication. For business professionals and marketers in India, understanding the advent and impact of these OTT messaging apps is crucial for staying ahead in the competitive landscape.

This blog delves into the historical growth, current trends, technological advancements, business applications, benefits, challenges, and outlook of OTT messaging in India. By the end, you'll have a comprehensive understanding of how these platforms are revolutionizing communication and why they are indispensable for modern businesses.

Historical Background

The journey of OTT messaging apps began globally with the launch of platforms like WhatsApp and Viber in the late 2000s. These apps quickly gained popularity due to their ability to send messages over the internet, bypassing traditional SMS fees. In India, the adoption of OTT messaging saw a significant boost with the widespread availability of affordable smartphones and data plans.

WhatsApp, launched in 2009, became a game-changer in the Indian market. By 2014, when Facebook acquired WhatsApp, the platform already had a substantial user base in India, benefiting from the early-mover advantage. The introduction of features like voice calls (2015), video calls (2016), and WhatsApp Business (2018) further solidified its dominance.

Facebook Messenger, another major player, integrated with the social media giant's platform, making it easy for users to connect and communicate seamlessly. Other OTT platforms like Truecaller and RCS Business Messaging have also made significant strides, catering to specific business needs and enhancing user engagement.

Current Trends

As of October 2020, WhatsApp emerged as the most preferred messaging platform with nearly 2 billion monthly active users globally, followed by Facebook Messenger with 1.3 billion users. In India, WhatsApp's popularity is unparalleled, with a vast majority of smartphone users relying on it for daily communication.

Technological advancements have played a pivotal role in the evolution of OTT messaging apps. The integration of rich media features such as video, images, and GIFs has made conversations more engaging. AI-powered chatbots have transformed customer service, enabling businesses to interact with customers efficiently and effectively.

Key trends shaping the OTT messaging landscape in India include:

  • Rich Media Messaging: Enhanced user experience with the ability to send videos, images, and GIFs.
  • AI and Chatbots: Automating customer interactions, providing instant responses, and improving service quality.
  • Multi-Device Access: Allowing users to access their accounts from various devices, ensuring continuity and convenience.
  • End-to-End Encryption: Ensuring privacy and security for users, a crucial factor in building trust.

RCS Business Messaging

Rich Communication Services (RCS) Business Messaging is a protocol that upgrades the traditional SMS experience by providing richer functionality, including the ability to send multimedia content, real-time updates, and interactive elements. RCS aims to bring the features of OTT messaging apps directly to the native messaging apps on smartphones, bridging the gap between SMS and modern messaging platforms.

Benefits of RCS Business Messaging:

  • Enhanced Customer Engagement: With RCS, businesses can send rich media messages, including images, videos, and interactive buttons, making customer interactions more engaging.
  • Verified Sender Information: Businesses can ensure their messages are trusted by including verified sender information, reducing the risk of spam and fraud.
  • Real-Time Analytics: RCS provides businesses with real-time analytics, allowing them to track message delivery, read rates, and customer interactions.
  • Improved Customer Experience: By integrating features like suggested replies and actions, RCS enhances the overall customer experience, making it easier for customers to interact with businesses.

Truecaller Business Messaging

Truecaller, known primarily as a caller identification and spam blocking app, has expanded its services to include Truecaller Business Messaging. This platform allows businesses to communicate directly with customers through verified business profiles, leveraging Truecaller's extensive user base and trust.

Benefits of Truecaller Business Messaging:

  • Spam-Free Communication: Truecaller's robust spam detection ensures that business messages reach the intended recipients without being filtered as spam.
  • Verified Business Profiles: Businesses can create verified profiles, increasing trust and credibility among customers.
  • Rich Media Messaging: Similar to other OTT platforms, Truecaller Business Messaging supports rich media content, making interactions more engaging.
  • Wide Reach: Leveraging Truecaller's vast user base, businesses can reach a large audience efficiently.

Benefits of OTT Messaging

1. For Users:

  • Free Voice and Video Calls: OTT messaging apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger offer free voice and video calls, making communication more versatile and cost-effective.
  • Group Messaging: Users can create groups to communicate with multiple people simultaneously, enhancing collaboration and social interaction.
  • No Phone Number Requirement: Platforms like Facebook Messenger and Skype allow users to connect without sharing phone numbers, adding a layer of privacy.
  • Multi-Device Access: Users can access their accounts from smartphones, tablets, and laptops, ensuring they stay connected regardless of the device they use.
  • Enhanced Security: Features like end-to-end encryption and two-factor authentication (2FA) ensure that user data and conversations are secure.

2. For Businesses:

  • Direct Communication with Customers: OTT messaging apps enable businesses to initiate conversations with customers through A2P messaging, fostering direct and personalized communication.
  • High Engagement Rates: Rich media content, such as images and videos, significantly boosts user engagement and interaction.
  • Chatbots for Customer Service: AI-powered chatbots can handle customer queries, provide information, and offer support, enhancing customer satisfaction.
  • Verified Profiles: Businesses can use verified profiles to build trust with customers, leading to higher response rates and better customer relationships.

Business Applications

1. Banking:

  • Customer Service and Support: Banks can use OTT messaging to provide instant support, answer queries, and offer assistance to customers.
  • Transactional Alerts: Sending real-time notifications for transactions, account updates, and fraud alerts ensures customers are always informed.
  • Secure Communication: End-to-end encryption ensures that sensitive financial information remains confidential.

2. eCommerce:

  • Personalized Marketing: OTT messaging allows eCommerce platforms to send personalized offers, discounts, and recommendations to customers.
  • Order Updates: Real-time updates on order status, shipping, and delivery keep customers informed and engaged.
  • Customer Feedback and Support: Collecting feedback and providing support through messaging apps enhances the overall shopping experience.

3. Travel:

  • Booking Confirmations: Sending instant confirmations for bookings and reservations ensures customers have all necessary information at their fingertips.
  • Real-Time Updates: Providing real-time updates on flight status, delays, and cancellations helps travelers stay informed and plan accordingly.
  • Personalized Services: Offering personalized travel recommendations and support enhances the travel experience and builds customer loyalty.

Future Outlook

The future of OTT messaging in India looks promising, with several factors driving growth and innovation:

  • Predicted Growth: The number of OTT messaging users is expected to continue rising, driven by increased smartphone penetration and internet accessibility.
  • Emerging Technologies: Technologies like 5G, AI, and machine learning will further enhance the capabilities and functionalities of OTT messaging apps.
  • Evolving Business Strategies: Businesses will increasingly integrate OTT messaging into their communication strategies, leveraging its benefits for marketing, customer service, and engagement.
  • New Use-Cases: Industries such as healthcare, education, and government services are likely to explore new use-cases for OTT messaging, expanding its applications and impact.


The advent of OTT messaging in India has transformed the way people communicate, offering a plethora of benefits for both users and businesses. With its rich media capabilities, enhanced security features, and direct communication channels, OTT messaging is set to play a pivotal role in the future of business communication. As businesses continue to explore and leverage these platforms, staying informed about the latest trends and advancements will be crucial for success.