Rich Communications Services – the next generation of operator messaging

What is RCS?

Rich Communications Services (RCS) is the platform that enables delivery of communication experiences beyond voice and SMS. It provides consumers with instant messaging or chat, one to one or to groups, live video and file sharing across devices on any network.

RCS marks the transition of messaging and voice capabilities from Circuit Switched technology to an all-IP world. It shares the same IMS investment and leverages the same IMS capabilities as VoLTE and video calls over LTE.

Who is RCS valuable for?

  • Consumers;
  • Operators; and
  • Business-users of messaging.

What are the benefits of RCS?

  • Is available to all consumers without the need to download an app or sign up to a web service;
  • Is interoperable between all network implementations
  • Offers consumers competitive solutions with alternative apps;
  • Ensures operators’ services retain relevance for consumers;
  • Delivers the messaging service step-change the consumer is seeking;
  • Enables the continuation of operator-centric messaging services;
  • Retains operator messaging as a key entry-point into operator voice and video services
  • Provides the consumer with a secure service
  • Builds upon the unique operator propositions of: ubiquity, global interoperability, service assurance, security and privacy management and trust as a service provider;
  • Offers an opportunity to expand core products and services;
  • Is a route to developing more targeted, engaging customer propositions, e.g. via chat-based games, mobile learning, smart ads and promotions;
  • Drives stickiness and revenue;
  • Is a route to getting a return on IMS investment from the start (by enabling operators to generate new revenue streams through the creation of apps and B2B services); and
  • Enables operators to quickly deploy RCS as a stand-alone set of services via hosted solutions, in advance of LTE, VoLTE and HD voice services. Operators benefit from “pay as you grow” costs, without the need to buy and install IMS equipment.

What is the GSMA doing to help in relation to RCS?


  • Has developed the market-leading RCS specification, supported by test cases;
  • Is working with leading Operators to develop a common, universal profile based on the GSMA’s RCS specifications;
  • Works to extend the reach and availability of RCS by helping our ecosystem partners develop inter and intra market interoperability;
  • Is working with a range of partners to accelerate the reach of RCS via hosted network solutions; and
  • Shares best practice for implementing consistent global interoperability of RCS in an all-IP world. (Operator Interest Groups [OIGs] drive agile specification development – to join an OIG, you must be a GSMA member. Click here to explore the active groups.)

For more support from the GSMA with RCS, click here to access the All-IP Business Guide.

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