The GSMA, the global trade group for the mobile industry, today announced that it has added the Rich Communication Suite (RCS) Initiative to its work programme.
Supported by over 30 operators and vendors, RCS enables interoperable enriched communication including in-call multimedia sharing, conversational messaging and presence-enhanced contact management for mobile and fixed customers.
Alex Sinclair, the GSMA’s Chief Technology Officer said “We are pleased to support the continued progress of RCS that will enable mobile users to see at a glance whether their contacts are available to talk or exchange instant messages, easily initiate chat sessions with a group of friends or exchange pictures or videos during a voice call, regardless of which device or network they are using.
Interoperability across networks – a core competence of the GSMA – is key to making these exciting services easy-to-use and popular.” The RCS Plenary held in Chicago on August 25th 2008 marked the completion of the integration of the RCS Initiative into the GSMA, enabling the significant momentum behind RCS to be maintained. Over 30 companies are now supporting the initiative and the first interoperable RCS services are set to be launched in mid 2009.
The integration of the RCS Initiative into the GSMA’s work programme will bring a number of benefits to its continued development. Using its long experience of running similar projects with participation from a mix of operators and equipment suppliers, the GSMA is well-placed to develop and provide a stable and proven framework for the definition of business models, interworking guidelines and technical reference implementation.
The core feature set of RCS includes:
- Enhanced Phonebook, with service capabilities and presence enhanced contacts information
- Enhanced Messaging, which enables a large variety of messaging options including chat and messaging history
- Enriched Call, which enables multimedia content sharing during a voice call.
Further integration testing is planned to take place in Helsinki at the end of September hosted by TeliaSonera and, in parallel with the commercialization of initial RCS services, the next phases of RCS plan to include additional functionality and different types of devices. A full update on the progress of the initiative supported with live demonstrations will be showcased at the GSMA’s Mobile Asia Congress in Macau in November 2008.
Founded in 2007 by AT&T, France Telecom/Orange, Telecom Italia, Telefónica, TeliaSonera, Ericsson, Nokia Siemens Networks, Sony Ericsson, Nokia and Samsung, RCS has now grown to include over 30 operators and vendors including Alcatel-Lucent, Bouygues Telecom, EMOBILE, Huawei, KDDI , LG Electronics, NEC, NTT, NTT DoCoMo, Motorola, SFR, SK Telecom, SOFTBANK MOBILE Corp, Swisscom, Telstra, Telenor, TMN and Toshiba.
“The way people communicate is fundamentally changing. This communication transformation is driven by ubiquitous access to fixed and mobile broadband as well as the availability of ever more powerful devices. We are excited to be a main driver of the RCS initiative to help our customers transform their offering and business. Alcatel-Lucent fully commits to enriching users’ communication experiences with the Internet communications by delivering a rich set of services like enhanced network address books, presence, multimedia IM, etc., all complying to RCS commitments. Core to the Alcatel-Lucent services is the carrier-grade and open Alcatel-Lucent 5400 IAS service platform with its flexible service creation environment. We are also pleased to support the integration of RCS initiative into GSMA to help driving RCS successfully to the market”, says Hervé Amossé, Vice President, IP Communications, Alcatel-Lucent
Jörgen Lantto, Vice President, Portfolio Management and Technology, Business Unit Multimedia at Ericsson says “The RCS initiative has been very successful in creating industry momentum behind the next level of rich multimedia communication services for the consumer; and it is a logical next move to use GSMA’s experience in deployment of new services and assuring interoperability”. He further adds “We do expect to see RCS services on the market in 2009 and we believe that GSMA is the right organization to ensure the success of this market introduction. Ericsson will continue to support the RCS initiative and the GSMA in further efforts.”
In-Kyung Kim, Vice President of Broadband Wireless and IMS Development at LG Electronics, said “we are pleased to see that GSMA global experience is taking RCS to a new step toward providing customer benefits in enhanced messaging and multimedia services in timely manner.”
Nokia Siemens Networks
“Today’s communication is becoming more people- and community-centric as more subscribers expect services that let them stay in close touch and share everyday experiences with groups of friends. Nokia Siemens Networks regards Rich Communication Suite as an innovative service that will make this happen. RCS intelligently enriches voice service to drive the evolution of communication habits. We are committed to deliver RCS solutions to our customers to satisfy the growing demand for converged communication, help increase ARPU, strengthen customer loyalty and reduce churn,” said Mechthild Behrens, Head of Converged Communication Solution Management, Nokia Siemens Networks. “We very much welcome the integration of the RCS Initiative into the framework of the GSMA.”
“The Rich Communication Suite Initiative is key to develop an enriched communication experience beyond voice for all customers whatever the devices they can use. RCS will foster interoperability between operators and vendors, which will ensure the success of enriched communication services. The integration of RCS initiative in GSMA will promote a faster Go to Market of enriched communication services and will ensure a large adoption of these services across the operator community”, said Marc Fossier, Chief Technology Officer of Orange
Dr. Dohun Kwon, Managing Director of Samsung Electronics Research Institute (UK) and Vice President of Samsung, said: “We are pleased that the RCS Initiative has been adopted by the GSMA and more companies have joined the activity to contribute to the commercialization of RCS. Samsung will work actively with operators and vendors to ensure interoperability between handsets and networks in order to provide rich communication experiences for the end users.”
“The RCS project will bring a natural, reachable and richer communicating experience to consumers, by providing UX implementation guidelines”, says Mats Lindoff, CTO at Sony Ericsson and emphasizes that “We see GSMA’s involvement as the next important step and guarantor for a coherent interoperable market deployment.”
Luca Tomassini, Senior Vice President, Business Innovation for Telecom Italia’s Domestic Market Operation unit, said “RCS is perceived as a new mass market conversational service which will evolve person-to-person communications from today’s voice and text to richer content. RCS Initiative has identified a set of features and implementation guidelines originating from profiled IP Multimedia Subsystem standards with the intention of having interoperable rich communication services available in 2008/2009. Telecom Italia believe that the objective of defining a compelling user experience, interoperability testing and interworking among several handsets and network infrastructure will be faster accomplished working within GSMA”.
“The Rich Communication Suite will drive the adoption of IMS services in the market, helping our industry to evolve mobile communications, enhancing user experience with new, rich multimedia services”, said Cayetano Lluch, General Director, Technology and Services Development at Telefónica España. He further added “We strongly believe that integrating the RCS Initiative into the GSMA will facilitate the necessary steps towards the introduction of RCS services in the market, guaranteeing their interoperability among different handsets and networks”.
“Enriching the user experience of mass-market communication services carries a great importance for TeliaSonera”, says Claes Nycander, Vice President of Common Development, TeliaSonera Mobility Services. “We believe that RCS will become as successful and ubiquitous as mobile voice and short messaging services are today. Co-operation with other forerunner operators and leading vendors is very important to ensure interoperability and high-quality customer experience.”
The GSM Association (GSMA) is the global trade body representing more than 750 GSM mobile phone operators across 218 countries and territories of the world. The Association’s members represent more than 3 billion GSM and 3GSM connections – over 86% of the world’s mobile phone connections. In addition, more than 200 manufacturers and suppliers support the Association’s initiatives.
The primary goals of the GSMA are to ensure mobile phones and wireless services work globally and are easily accessible, enhancing their value to individual customers and national economies, while creating new business opportunities for operators and their suppliers.
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