MetroPCS says joyn launch proceeding smoothly despite DT's troubles

MetroPCS (NYSE:PCS) said its deployment of Rich Communication Services under the GSMA's joyn brand is humming along just fine. The comments are notable considering the technical difficulties Deutsche Telekom is experiencing in Germany that have forced the carrier to indefinitely delay launching joyn there.

MetroPCS, the only U.S. carrier so far to have launched joyn, said all of its LTE handsets--including the Samsung Galaxy S III, Galaxy Admire 4G, ZTE Avid and LG Spirit--now support joyn via a downloadable client available in Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Play storefront.

MetroPCS spokesman Drew Crowell told FierceWireless that the company's plans for joyn remain unchanged, and that the carrier hopes to sell phones with joyn built in by the middle of this year. "We are working with handset OEMs to build-in joyn as a fully integrated feature, without the need for a download," he said.

Deutsche Telekom said earlier this week is indefinitely delaying the commercial launch of joyn in Germany after admitting that implementing the technology is taking much longer than originally expected. Incorporating joyn software into DT's handset portfolio is a lengthy process that requires thorough testing, DT spokesman Dirk Turning told Wirtschafts Woche. "Our goal is, of course, to move as quickly as possible to bring joyn to market," he said.

MetroPCS first launched joyn in late October. "As with any new service or feature rollout, there were challenges that needed to be addressed but we are proud to have been the first LTE operator to successfully launch RCS v. 5.0," Crowell said.

Crowell declined to provide usage statistics on MetroPCS' joyn users. 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 launched 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 over-the-top messaging services like WhatsApp, Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iMessage and Facebook's (NASDAQ:FB) Messenger.

Late last year in Spain Telefónica's Movistar, Orange Spain and Vodafone Spain jointly launched joyn service.

As operators rally around joyn, over-the-top providers continue to expand. For example, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) recently updated its Messenger app for iOS to support voice calling between Facebook users.

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