US carriers are collaborating to replace the SMS with new RCS standard

Short Message Service (SMS) has been the standard text messaging service implemented by carriers since the rise of texting. Now, network providers are collaborating to introduce Rich Communication Services (RCS) as its replacement.

Android Home Screen
A new messaging service may revolutionise the way people text. Photo: pxhere

Time for a change

Over the years, mobile phone users have been preferring to use apps such as WhatsApp and iMessage to chat. Texting via a network can be costly and unreliable. Many users don’t even use the service at all these days as it doesn’t offer the same capabilities as other services. Therefore, the call for a revised standard text messaging service is long overdue.

Subsequently, four major US carriers have announced a joint strategy to replace SMS with RCS. PC Mag reports that AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon issued a single press release to outline plan, dubbed the Cross-Carrier Messaging Initiative (CCMI).

RCS was built by the GSM association and enables features that SMS has been unable to implement. Aspects such as read receipts and large file attachments can be conducted with this new service.

WhatsApp chatting
WhatsApp is one of the preferred current ways to chat via mobile. Photo Santeri Viinamäki via Wikimedia Commons

Professional approach

The carriers’ press release highlighted CCMI’s ability to be useful for business communication.

“The CCMI service will:

  • Drive a robust business-to-consumer messaging ecosystem and accelerate the adoption of Rich Communications Services (RCS)
  • Enable an enhanced experience to privately send individual or group chats across carriers with high quality pictures and videos
  • Provide consumers with the ability to chat with their favorite brands, order a rideshare, pay bills or schedule appointments, and more
  • Create a single seamless, interoperable RCS experience across carriers, both in the U.S. and globally”

The joint venture will be tested out with Android as early as next year. Google will be keen to be partners on this project to compete with Apple’s iMessage feature. By having a firm partnership with the US’ biggest carriers, Google will be able to increase its holding in the market.

By the close of last year, Android has 42.75% of the market share according to CEO World. Google has made creative upgrades its Android services and platforms this season. Overhauling its communication services too, Android could further close the gap.

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Users of Android phones will be the first to test out RCS. Screenshot: Google

Industry shakeup?

Although, it’s not just Apple that will be keeping an eye on the progress of this service. Facebook will also be monitoring the situation as it could impact their brands. Many Android users may start to prefer using this service to communicate rather than Facebook’s WhatsApp or even Messenger.

However, with these existing services being universally available on any mobile device in most countries, users may be reluctant to adapt their messaging habits. As RCS is only being prioritized by US carriers at the moment, the popularity of the service may not grow as hoped. With the world so connected and business being conducted internationally on available across various platforms, the service will only succeed once universally available.

What do you think of the introduction of RCS? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section.

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