Vendor touts momentum in RCS market

Subway ad for Google's RCS messaging (Image: Subway)
Subway was among the companies that tested Google's RCS messaging. (Subway)

The long-gestating RCS market in the United States appeared to receive a slight boost as vendor Mavenir announced a new business messaging partner program with 15 confirmed partners.

Mavenir’s partners are 3C Interactive, Aldeamo, Anbotux, Cequens, CLX, IMI Mobile, Infobip, mGage, MessageBird, NativeMsg, OpenMarket, Syniverse, Smooch, tyntec and Zipwhip.

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The vendor explained that the market is now aligning for RCS growth.

“Mavenir has provided 4 out of the 5 RCS deployments” in the United States, the company said, pointing to launches by T-Mobile, AT&T and Sprint. “The number of RCS compatible devices is expected to grow rapidly since the launch of Android 8.0 Oreo with Android Messages built in, and Samsung’s introduction of RCS support in the Samsung Messages app provided in their latest Galaxy devices.”

The company said that the objective of its new RCS Business Messaging partner program is to “accelerate the adoption of RCS as a messaging delivery mechanism for rich business messaging.”

The company boasted that its program will speed the development of RCS by creating a set of trusted and vetted partners and by ensuring product validation against its offerings.

Mavenir’s comments are noteworthy considering that the U.S. wireless industry has been discussing RCS for years now. RCS—initially dubbed joyn by the GSMA—is a messaging standard that was developed as a way for mobile operators to better compete with services such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Apple's iMessage, which have essentially destroyed carriers' SMS revenues around the world. RCS supports features such as group chat and high-resolution photo sharing, alongside advertising, that aren't available through SMS.

Google threw its weight behind RCS in 2016, when the GSMA announced the internet giant would create an RCS client for Android. Heavyweights such as América Móvil, Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone backed the move, and nearly five dozen carriers and manufacturers have signed on.

Sprint has been held up by the GSMA and Google as a primary driver of the RCS messaging standard in the United States. After Google threw its weight behind RCS in 2016, Sprint in November of that year said it partnered with Google to launch RCS in the United States.

And earlier this year Sprint and Google announced the results of their launch of RCS-based messaging offerings, noting that advertisers including 1-800 Contacts, 1-800-Flowers.com, Booking.com, SnapTravel and Subway, among others, have conducted advertising efforts using the messaging technology.

Of course, the market is still waiting for the major U.S. carriers to begin a marketing program around RCS technology. Such a program could spur further usage by advertisers, users and others. The subject could be a discussion point later this year at the Mobile World Congress Americas trade show in Los Angeles. The show is the second annual wireless industry event overseen by the GSMA Association.

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