Vodafone Germany leads rivals with Joyn launch to battle OTT messaging apps

Vodafone Germany has taken the initiative and launched its Joyn messaging services ahead of its German rivals as a way to combat over-the-top messaging applications. The new service is downloadable from the Google Play Store for free, with support for other smartphone smartphones platforms coming soon.

Vodafone Germany launched Joyn service ahead of its rivals.

"We were the first operator in this country to launch LTE," Erik Friemuth, head of retail banking consumer marketing at Vodafone Germany, told Portel.de. "We're now highlighting our role as an innovative pioneer by being the first provider of Joyn in Germany, enabling our customers to easily chat with each other, stay in touch via video calls and share photos and videos files."

Vodafone said that its Joyn service can be used by Vodafone customers with a "Superflat" tariff including data and SMS bundles as well as by prepaid customers with a data option. Vodafone indicated that Joyn usage will be included in the cost of all of its flat-rate tariffs that include data and SMS.

Deutsche Telekom's T-Mobile Germany told Meedia.de that it will launch Joyn later this year, while Telefónica's O2 Germany will wait until 2013 before offering the new messaging service.

Germany's fourth-largest operator, E-Plus, has not announced a planned launch date for Joyn services.

However, concerns have been raised by the delays in launching Joyn--Vodafone was said to have been targeting spring 2012 for its start--given that rival WhatsApp is now the most widely used multimedia messaging app in Germany, according to Meedia.de.

Announced at this year's Mobile World Congress trade show, Joyn is the marketing name given to the GSMA's Rich Communications Services effort. RCS has been around for years--the standard is now heading into its fifth release--but it's now being positioned as a response to the dramatic growth of third-party, over-the-top IP messaging services like WhatsApp, Apple's iMessage and Facebook's Messenger. Joyn focuses on key messaging features, including video sharing during a voice call, multimedia chatting and file transferring, including during a voice call.

For more:
- see this Portel.de article (translated via Google Translate)
- see this Meedia.de article (translated via Google Translate)

Related Articles:
Vodafone Germany to launch RCSe services in May
Joyn is SMS version 2.0, but will it help carriers stem the OTT tide?
Is the SMS stronghold being crumbled by slick upstarts?
Invest in voice, or become data-only operator, says analyst