The RCS Mirage

David Ruddock, writing for Android Police:

There has been much noise made about Google’s launch of its RCS messaging platform via the Messenger app on Sprint today. Sprint announced it would support Google’s RCS platform, formerly known as Jibe, back in February, though, and remains the only US provider to do so.

But T-Mobile and AT&T have launched RCS messaging, right? Yes. But their versions don’t work with Google’s (Sprint’s) RCS. And AT&T’s RCS messaging doesn’t work with T-Mobile’s, and vice versa. And there’s no indication that this will change any time soon. While both T-Mobile and AT&T have signed on to the GSMA’s soon-to-be-published intercompatible RCS messaging standard, carriers seem much more interested in making “advanced messaging” a carrier feature rather than the universal SMS replacement it was developed to be. “Come to AT&T, our Advanced Messaging(TM) offers features others don’t!” (read: “Don’t leave AT&T or you’ll lose the unique features we’ve built into our messaging client that don’t work on other carriers”). Verizon, for its part, hasn’t even committed to using RCS at all (update: it is apparently a signatory on the GSMA Network2020 Universal RCS Profile, but AT&T weirdly isn’t) — the carrier has its own proprietary messaging platform not based on RCS, and that doesn’t work with any other services.

Meanwhile Apple, the U.S.’s dominant phone maker by far, has zero motivation to ever support RCS.

Friday, 4 November 2016