Rogers became the first mobile operator in Canada and the second in the world to launch Advanced Messaging services to its subscribers based on the GSMA’s Universal Profile. Through a partnership with Google, Rogers will offer enhanced messaging experiences and access to features such as group chat, hi-res photo sharing and read receipts to users of Android devices via Google’s Messenger for Android app which can be downloaded from Google Play. Rogers follows Sprint who became the first operator to launch the service in the U.S last month. Both operators will preinstall the app on new Android devices as its default messaging app from next year.
To find out more about why Rogers launched the service we spoke to Leroy Williams – VP, Rogers Wireless Marketing at Rogers. In our series of interviews with Operators we find out more about their experience, and what the benefits are.
1. Why has Rogers decided to offer this messaging service now? How will it improve the messaging services consumers can already access?
With Rich Messaging, our customers can keep in touch with friends and family in a more fun and dynamic way. Now, when using the enhanced features (as opposed to standard SMS) you will have the ability to easily share larger media files (i.e. photos and videos), group chat, and more. We know RCS is the future of messaging and that having more versatility with your smartphone is important to our customers which is why we wanted to offer the service sooner rather than later.
2. Why has Rogers been so quick to offer this service particularly in beating competitors to market?
We’re always looking to bring innovative solutions to our customers that will enhance their experience with Rogers. Android customers have been looking for a similar service to Apple’s iMessage, which didn’t exist until now. We’re excited to be the first carrier in Canada to offer Rich Messaging on Rogers and Fido devices – we know our customers will enjoy the additional capabilities it offers them.
3. What are the key benefits this upgrade will offer Rogers customers?
Rich Messaging will allow our customers the simplicity of communicating more with less. Customers now get the benefit of creating group chats, sending GIF’s and larger files, photos and videos. You can also share locations which is great for parents with teens; who are becoming more independent.
Additionally, read receipts are a part of the enhanced features which allow users to see if someone has read your message without them actually replying. If they do decide to respond, then you will be able to see real-time typing indicators to know if someone is in the process of writing you back.
4. What plans do you have to improve this service further in the future? What can subscribers expect?
Right now, we’re focused on ensuring our customers have the best experience with Rich Messaging. Looking forward, we’re going to focus on enhancing adoption through preloading the Messenger app so it’s native to all new Android devices on Rogers and Fido.
Alignment with the GSMA Universal Profile is key to adding enhancements in the future such as, voice recognition and using RCS on other Android devices that are linked to your phone (i.e. tablets and wearables). Imagine your phone is charging on the nightstand and you are in another part of your home on your tablet, now you have the added benefit of sending and receiving messages from multiple Android devices.
5. Why is Google’s solution the best for Rogers subscribers?
We chose Google’s solution because of their global scale. Their solution allows us to leverage the existing Google Messenger platform which is the native Android experience and also available in the Play Store.
Google has a large existing developer community. They are aligned with GSMA Universal Profile and are active in GSMA standards driving harmonization across the industry and accelerating the adoption of Rich Messaging.
We think they are the best positioned to offer compatibility across all our devices to help ensure the best experience for our customers.
6. What benefits does the GSMA’s Universal Profile for Advanced Messaging offer carriers?
The GSMA’s Universal Profile helps provide global service capabilities and ensures same universal interoperability as SMS and GSM Voice that customers expect. It also allows for consistent experience everywhere, which is important to be able to give our customers new experiences.