Google and GSMA Recruit Networks to Drive Forward RCS

A host of big-name operators have teamed up with the GSMA and Google to drive forward the availability of Rich Communications Services on Android.

The new industry initiative will enable all operators to provide open, consistent and globally interoperable messaging services, according to an announcement by Google and the GSMA.

The list of global operators signed up to the group include networks such as América Móvil, Bharti Airtel, Deutche Telekom, Orange, Sprint, Telstra and Vodafone.

Google will provide the Android client for the RCS functionality, and the operators have agreed to transition towards a common, universal profile based on the Google client and specifications set out by the GSMA.

The agreement will allow mobile operators to deliver a consistent Android messaging system in terms of feature sets and configuration. The announcement says that features such as group chat, high-res photo sharing, and read receipts will become a consistent part of the operator messaging experience.

“RCS continues to experience organic growth around the world, with 47 operators in 34 countries having launched services to date,” says Alex Sinclair, chief technology officer at the GSMA. “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.”

Sinclair says that Google will provide operators a new opportunity for a rich, consistent implementation across Android devices.

“Messaging holds a central place in our lives, whether it’s coordinating a meet-up, sharing photos with friends, or sending thoughts to a loved one,” says Nick Fox, VP 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.”