Major US Carriers: We're Taking Over RCS Rollout
Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint announced they're working on the 'Cross-Carrier Messaging Initiative' to simplify texting between all devices.
Traditional texting falls short of what other messaging apps can do, but US carriers are collaborating on a new standard that aims to usher in next-generation features.
Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint issued a single press release laying out its strategy to replace SMS. The joint venture, known as the Cross-Carrier Messaging Initiative (CCMI), takes on Rich Communication Services (RCS). Built by the GSM Association, RCS unlocks access to an upgraded communication experience.
RCS enables features such as read receipts, a real-time typing indicator, and larger file attachments. Businesses, too, benefit by using RCS to directly communicate with their customers.
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In the last few years, Google's strategy for RCS-based texting shifted from relying on carriers to flipping the switch itself. Google introduced its own standard, called Chat, on Android devices in the United Kingdom and France back in June. Additional countries are set to gain support in the coming months, and all Google needs to do is modify servers to welcome users.
Google appears to be committed to the CCMI's standard as well, though. In a statement issued to The Verge, the Mountain View-based company applauded US carriers' latest approach. So there might be at least a small chance the CCMI's standard gets included in the dedicated Messages app on Android devices.
The good and bad news for iPhone owners: iOS support hasn't been ruled out, but Apple's staying quiet on its interest in RCS as iMessage already dominates among its users. It'd be nice to see Apple work with US carriers as consistency is vital for any RCS standard to succeed. Of course, there's no indication that Apple cares enough about that when iMessage exists as a huge selling point for its hardware.
RCS-based texting with the CCMI's standard should arrive in 2020. Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint say they'll release a pre-installed app on Android devices to easily get the technology to millions of customers. It'll also be offered on some existing smartphones through the Play Store.
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