Chinese operators make major RCS commitment: Whitepaper

China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom yesterday (8 April) released a 5G messaging white paper outlining their commitment to mandate all compatible handsets sold in the country support Rich Communication Services (RCS).

The move to adopt the GSMA’s Universal Profile specification is backed by more than 12 major hardware vendors including Huawei; Xiaomi; Vivo; Oppo; ZTE; Lenovo; and Samsung.

However, the operators did not set out a timeframe for adding RCS, revealing in a joint statement only the service would be included in future 5G smartphones. Users will be able to switch seamlessly between RCS and traditional SMS functions.

“Together with ecosystem partners, we will start a new chapter in 5G messaging and further promote RCS applications in China,” the trio said.

They added RCS is necessary to support new 5G-enabled services: the platform can also offer features including messaging over Wi-Fi, rich media sharing and group chats.

In addition to clarifying the relevant business functions and technical requirements, the operators’ white paper suggests ideas for developing the 5G messaging ecosystem.

RCS is a GSMA-backed messaging platform combining the capabilities of SMS with OTT services.

GSMAi figures state 88 operators had launched RCS services as of this month, with 403 million active monthly users. It forecast the market value would hit $74 billion by 2021.


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