Japan Turns on RCS Services

May 15, 2018

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Last week we were excited to announce that all three of Japan’s mobile operators, KDDI Corporation, NTT DOCOMO, INC. and SoftBank Corp. had launched Rich Communications Services (RCS) based on our specifications across Japan. The service is called ‘+ message’ and available to subscribers of all three networks. It will be an upgrade to SMS and offer subscribers access to enhanced messaging services such as chat, group chat, video, gifs, file and location sharing on smartphones and tablets. It also mean that subscribers can use these services with all of their contacts instantly.

Momentum of RCS is certainly growing around the world with over 50 network launches, network interconnections in Europe and the Americas and over 165 million users at time of writing according to GSMA Intelligence – a figure that is expected to double by the end of this year. All three operators are also planning to launch RCS Business Messaging in the future which will allow consumers to engage directly with multiple brands from a messaging platform in a more interactive and engaging way. So for example, they can make restaurant reservations, book train tickets or retail purchases without having to juggle numerous apps from their smartphones. Numerous global brands are already trialling it to improve the customer experience and enable consumers to communicate with brands in a more engaging and direct manner. GSMA Intelligence estimates that the RCS Business Messaging market will be worth over $74 billion by 2021.

All three operators plan to transition to the GSMA’s Universal Profile (UP) specification in the future. The UP provides an open, consistent and global messaging service across networks and devices. It simplifies interoperability and enables OEMs and OS providers to achieve scale and give consumers a richer and more consistent messaging experience regardless of device or network. For more information about the RCS Universal Profile, please go to: www.gsma.com/futurenetworks/ip-services/universal-profile/.

The GSMA is also working to accelerate the growth of RCS through initiatives such as the GSMA RCS Business Messaging Labs, which bring operators, marketing companies, messaging aggregators and brands together to work together on key topics such as customer experience, specifications, monetisation, privacy, security and trust and interconnection.

Learn more about RCS global launches here.

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