Southwest Airlines announced their plans for using RNP to improve efficiency (this presentation has nice graphical illustrations) a while ago. They just announced their vendor selection. Southwest is not the first to use RNP. Alaska Airlines has been using it very effectively in Alaska for several years. The primary motivation there was dealing with the mountains and bad weather. The reduction in flight cancellations and flight diversions justified the high capital investment. RNP has also been prototyped in the US by Delta and in Australia to improve flight operations at congested airports (while also reducing fuel use).
The big deal with Southwest is that this will be system wide for them, with every airplane upgraded to RNP navigational equipment and every airport that they use having RNP approaches designed. This is a big dollar investment. The FAA portion of the investment in approach designs and ATC procedural changes is not called out. Much of this is being designed by Southwest's vendor so that it is ready now for the Southwest routes and aircraft, instead of waiting for the FAA funding schedule. The FAA needs to review, approve, and integrate the procedural changes. Southwest is spending $175 million over six years to do this and upgrade their avionics, and expects to get a return of about $25 million/yr in fuel use savings. They will also get a non-dollar savings from reducing flight times by 1-2 minutes per flight, and from using continual glide descents. The FAA expects to reduce load on ATC and increase airport capacity slightly, based on preliminary experience with RNP.
Delta, American, and other airlines have been rolling out RNP support within the US and internationally to deal with difficult airports, where congestion or terrain give a special advantage to RNP. Southwest is the first to announce that it will be system wide.