MetroPCS expands joyn messaging service to more smartphones

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MetroPCS (NYSE:PCS) is bringing Rich Communication Services under the GSMA's joyn brand to more of its LTE smartphones. The joyn service is part of an effort by carriers worldwide to counter the rise of over-the-top communications services like WhatsApp, Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iMessage and Facebook's (NASDAQ:FB) Messenger.

The flat-rate carrier said its joyn service is now available for download on the Samsung Electronics Galaxy S III and Galaxy S Lightray, as well as the LG Motion and LG Connect, ZTE Anthem and Coolpad Quattro phones. Previously, Metro's joyn service was limited to the Samsung Galaxy Attain. To access the service, users with the phones must download the joyn application from Google's Play Android storefront, but by mid-2013 MetroPCS plans to sell phones with joyn built in.

MetroPCS spokesman Drew Crowell said that by the end of the week the carrier will offer joyn service on all 10 of its LTE smartphones. MetroPCS had originally said it would expand the service to those smartphones in November, so the rollout appears to have been delayed slightly.

Crowell declined to offer usage metrics for MetroPCS' joyn launch. "The company is still gathering data about customer downloads and doesn't have anything to share publically regarding customer feedback at this point," he said.

MetroPCS has said the technology will allow users with compatible handsets to:

  • See when other users are available;
  • Conduct threaded text conversations;
  • Share content via one click from an address book;
  • Share video, images and files while on a call;
  • And conduct voice and video calls over Wi-Fi networks.

MetroPCS has said it is supporting joyn to enhance its customers' mobile experience and not necessarily to protect against losing messaging or data revenues--MetroPCS is not charging extra for the service. However, many European carriers have embraced joyn in order to stem losses to OTT players. Last week in Spain Telefónica's Movistar, Orange Spain and Vodafone Spain jointly launched joyn service.

As operators rally around joyn, OTT providers continue to expand. For example, Facebook is expanding its standalone Messenger for Android application to support device owners without existing Facebook accounts, signaling the first time the social networking giant has made its services available outside its user base.

For more:
- see this MetroPCS page
- see this Phone Scoop article

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