The adoption of advanced RCS messaging received a huge boost ahead of Mobile World Congress 2017 with the news that mobile operators, Deutsche Telekom, Globe and Orange will provide services to subscribers based on the GSMA’s Universal Profile (UP) for Advanced Messaging. Samsung also announced plans to offer a complete end-to-end RCS solution that includes RCS-enabled devices, native and downloadable device clients, cloud-based RCS application servers, interconnectivity hub among operators and a third-party monetization platform. Vodafone already provides services in 15 markets based on their centralized and fully interconnected RCS application servers.
All of these services will be based on the UP, which is backed by 76 operators, OEMs and OS providers worldwide and currently has over 100 million active users, a figure which is now expected to experience huge growth as RCS is adopted by consumers around the world. The UP gives consumers a richer messaging experience and access to features including group chat, file transfer and video share. Telenor, Rogers and Sprint have already outlined plans to launch services. In the space of a year, the GSMA has worked with the mobile industry to create a common and interoperable profile and issued the first specification.
Many operators will now have the option to use end-to-end RCS solutions from Google, Samsung or their own RCS platform. Google’s solution includes Android Messages (formerly called Messenger for Android) and the Jibe RCS Cloud, which enables operators to launch and manage RCS services and enable carriers to connect with other networks with a single connection – this will dramatically increase the number of contacts that customers can use advanced messaging with. Operators will also have the option of preloading Android Messages as a native messaging app for their subscribers.
The GSMA will issue a second release of the UP in Q2 2017 that upgrades the service further by incorporating additional features such as improved messaging expressiveness, as well as APIs, plug-in integration and improved authentication and security. It will also include technical enablers to allow operators to launch value-added services such as payment services, chatbots and conversational commerce.
Messaging as a Platform: The Operator Opportunity
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