U.S. carriers kill off their Cross Carrier Messaging Initiative (CCMI).
With CCMI, all four carriers planned to create a consumer-to-business ecosystem that would allow people to chat with their favorite brands without having to switch apps. Users would be able to order a rideshare, schedule appointments, pay bills and more using an RCS system that would work across carriers in the U.S. and globally. By November 2019, the members of the CCMI chose Synchronoss Technologies to “deliver an advanced mobile messaging experience across all four mobile networks.”
T-Mobile stated, “We’re committed to delivering RCS interoperability and are working with other providers to make it happen. T-Mobile customers with Android devices can currently enjoy RCS messaging across our network as well as with many other customers worldwide by interoperating with Google.”
Analyst Lynnette Luna of GlobalData says that “RCS is really important to Google,” but there is a “chicken and egg problem” related to Apple. The latter does not support RCS because of its own Messages app, and Apple has half of the U.S. smartphone market. Still, there is a reason why Google continues to push RCS in the U.S. and that is because the company hopes to make money by pushing business to consumer ads.
In Japan, such ads attract the attention of consumers. According to Synchronoss, in Japan 85% of RCS messages are opened while 60% are clicked on. Compare that to the 0.001% that click on mobile banner ads and you can understand why Google has high hopes for RCS as a business platform.
American telecom firm Mavenir is a software company based in the U.S. and the top three mobile network operators in the states (Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T) use Mavenir’s software in their technology. Guillaume Le Mener, head of RCS at Mavenir, told Light Reading in a statement that “The leading U.S. MNOs have either completed or are in the process to complete RCS interconnection among themselves, as well as connection with the rest of the world’s RCS users. New announcements on RCS availability from the different MNOs are expected, demonstrating that RCS is a reality and continues to grow.”
Global Data’s Luna says that RCS could get a boost from 5G use since that would require the carriers to install gear that makes RCS interoperability easier to implement. Still, Luna doesn’t see the U.S. carriers making a big RCS push in the states even though Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T are working to expand their 5G services in the country.