SPRINT AND ROGERS USE GSMA UNVERSAL PROFILE TO DELIVER FAST RCS INTERCONNECTION
Earlier this summer, Sprint Corporation in the U.S and Rogers Communications in Canada became amongst the first operators in the world to provide interconnected advanced messaging services to subscribers of both companies. Both were able to complete the interconnection in an incredibly short timeframe lasting approximately 5 months. Their example demonstrates that operators around the world have a number of options open to them to quickly deploy similar services to their subscribers.
The upgraded messaging service means that both operators are able to offer enhanced messaging experiences to their respective subscribers including access to features such as group chat, hi-res photo sharing, video sharing, sending GIF’s and larger files, real-time typing indicators and read receipts across both networks. It also allows users to share their location with friends or family. Crucially, it is available natively in the device meaning that consumers do not have to download multiple messaging apps or have the same one as a friend for it to work. For Sprint the move to RCS was prompted by adopting an all-IP strategy as the future of their communications services, so customers can benefit from an integrated experience where voice, messaging and data services work seamlessly together. Similarly, for Rogers it was about bringing innovative solutions to their customers that would enhance their experience.
The speed at which both networks were able to complete and deploy RCS has been principally due to two factors. Firstly, the adoption of the GSMA’s Universal Profile for Advanced Messaging (UP) and secondly, the Jibe RCS Cloud by Google. The GSMA worked with the mobile operator community to develop the UP to simplify and accelerate the adoption of interoperable communications services by providing a single specification for an open, consistent and global messaging service across all devices. It delivers a richer, common user experience and simplifies product development and operator deployment of Advanced Messaging. It is currently backed by over 70 leading operators, vendors and OS providers worldwide. At present 50 Global Networks have launched and announced intentions to launch RCS. The service currently boasts 137m Monthly Active Users.
Ryan Sullivan, VP, Product Development, Sprint, explains, “The GSMA Universal Profile brings together the carrier-selected approaches from the European, North American and Asian profiles into a single solution. This profile allows Google to implement to one standard that will ultimately allow better acceptance by carriers world-wide.”
The GSMA also recently issued UP 2.0 which builds on the first technical specification by introducing key enablers for Messaging-as-a-Platform (MaaP) as well as improved messaging expressiveness, APIs, plug-in integration and improved authentication and security. This specification is enabling RCS A2P messaging allowing brands to interact with consumers within the platform. It is an important step that when combined with network interoperability enables operators to offer a consistent and engaging messaging experience.
Adoption of the Jibe RCS Cloud from Google has also been crucial. It allows operators to interconnect their networks and be fully interoperable through the Jibe RCS Hub, allowing subscribers to easily send RCS messages across networks. Subscribers from other networks connected to the hub will also be able to send RCS messages regardless of geographic location. Leroy Williams, VP, Rogers Wireless Marketing at Rogers says that “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.”
Google’s Hub-as-a-Service solution allows all carriers to interconnect, even those that implement a different vendor solution but utilize the RCS Universal Profile standards. Google’s solution also has the advantage of being able to quickly update bug fixes and modifications as well as introduce new features and functionality.
According to Sullivan, “Sprint partnered with Jibe Mobile in 2013 to launch the first RCS downloadable client (Messaging Plus) that worked cross-carrier. With the Jibe Mobile/ Google partnership on a native, integrated RCS offering, the opportunity existed for us to work with Google to bring these great features to Sprint customers. Sprint is committed to an offering that will be interoperable cross-carrier as an existing member of the GSMA. RCS is not necessarily about competition, but is about bringing all carriers ultimately to a universal standard that allows interoperability of rich messaging and communications features across customers and mobile carrier networks worldwide. All boats rise as other carriers commit to RCS and launch their RCS implementations, utilizing the standards defined by the industry.”
Further information please go to: https://www.gsma.com/futurenetworks/rcs/