Global Operators, Google, and the GSMA Align Behind Adoption of Rich Communications Services

"We are pleased that through this partnership we are able to bring a new generation of messaging services to our customers at a much faster pace."

22 February 2016, Barcelona: Global operators, including Airtel Africa, América Móvil,  AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, Etisalat, Globe Telecom, KPN, Millicom, MTN, Orange, PLAY, Smart Communications, Sprint, Telenor Group, Telstra, TIM, VimpelCom and Vodafone, the GSMA, and Google today announced the launch of a mobile industry initiative to accelerate the availability of Rich Communications Services (RCS). The initiative will enable all operators worldwide to provide an open, consistent, and globally interoperable messaging service across Android devices. Operators have agreed to transition toward a common, universal profile based on the GSMA’s RCS specifications and an Android RCS client provided by Google in collaboration with operators and OEMs.

Operators align on universal RCS profile; Google to provide RCS messaging client in Android

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By aligning on a universal RCS profile, mobile operators will be able to deploy a consistent RCS implementation, feature set, and configuration. The Android RCS client provided by Google will be based on the universal profile, enabling consumers to access RCS services on their devices. Features such as group chat, highres photo sharing, read receipts, and more, will now become part of the operator messaging experience, enhancing the experience of over 4 billion SMS users worldwide. GSMA RCS advanced calling features will also be supported in the future by Google.


The profile and client will enable a consistent and interoperable messaging experience between all Android devices and across all operators worldwide, as well as ease interoperability testing between networks and significantly reduce time to market. The universal profile can be implemented by other operating systems and will be supported by a formal GSMA accreditation process. Google will also provide an open source version of the client based on the universal profile specification and will provide developer APIs to enhance the RCS client experience.


“RCS continues to experience organic growth around the world, with 47 operators in 34 countries having launched services to date. However, this initiative will greatly simplify and accelerate adoption of the technology, and points to the future of how mobile users will communicate with one another. This is an incredibly positive development for the industry,” said Alex Sinclair, Chief Technology Officer, GSMA. “Google’s contributions will provide operators a new opportunity for a rich, consistent implementation across Android devices and offer a real step change in messaging experiences for consumers worldwide.”


 “Messaging holds a central place in our lives, whether it’s coordinating a meetup, Sharing photos with friends, or sending thoughts to a loved one,” said Nick Fox, Vice President of Communications Products at Google. “Today marks an important step forward in bringing a better messaging experience for Android users everywhere, and we’re thrilled to collaborate with our partners across the industry to make this happen.”


In the global rollout of RCS, mobile operators can deploy their own infrastructure or they have the option to use the Jibe Platform from Google, which supports the universal RCS profile. The Jibe Platform includes a hosted cloud for individual operators to launch RCS services for all leading mobile operating systems and the Jibe Hub to interconnect operator RCS networks.


For more information on Google’s support for RCS (including the Android RCS client) visit jibe.google.com/contactus. For more information on the GSMA’s work with Global Operators and RCS (including the profile alignment) visit gsma.com/network2020/technology/enrichedcallingwithrcs/.


SUPPORTING QUOTES


AIRTEL AFRICA


“We are pleased that through this partnership we are able to bring a new generation of messaging services to our customers at a much faster pace,” said Christian de Faria, CEO, Airtel Africa.


AT&T


“We recently launched AT&T Advanced Messaging, a product that brings modern communication features to our customers and is well aligned with the RCS standards. We see a lot of value in a universal profile as a vehicle to get these new features to consumers across the entire Android ecosystem and to accelerate interoperability with the global carrier community,” said Jeff Bradley, SVP Devices and Developer Services, AT&T 


GLOBE TELECOM


“Being among the first to partner with Google in RCS further enhances our position as the purveyor of the Filipino digital lifestyle. Joining telco operators all over the world will ensure that Filipino consumers will get to enjoy world-class mobile experience and innovative next-generation messaging services,” said Ernest Cu, President and CEO of Globe Telecom.


MILLICOM


“Millicom can play an important role as part of the community of interconnected operators as we work together to provide Next Gen messaging services for our customers which are open, consistent and globally interoperable,” said David Gillarranz, Vice President, Digital, Millicom. 


MTN


"MTN is supporting this initiative as one of a few that supports our vision to continue to be a leading communications services provider in Africa and the Middle East. This evolving environment will be built on industry standards, open interfaces, interoperability, leading edge solutions and responsible compliance in the interests of the subscriber,” said Herman Singh, Group Chief Digital Officer, MTN.


About Google


Google is a global technology leader focused on improving the ways people connect with information. Google’s innovations in web search and advertising have made its website a top Internet property and its brand one of the most recognized in the world.


About the GSMA


The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, uniting nearly 800 operators with more than 250 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and internet companies, as well as organisations in adjacent industry sectors. The GSMA also produces industryleading events such as Mobile World Congress, Mobile World Congress Shanghai and the Mobile 360 Series conferences.


For more information, please visit the GSMA corporate website at www.gsma.com . Follow the GSMA on Twitter: @GSMA.

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