Yesterday, at a small and business-focused GSMA event in New Jersey, Verizon's Vice President of Consumer Products, Aparna Khurjekar, announced that Verizon will launch support for RCS messages in early 2019. The measure is potentially important since RCS It is the new standard for text messages. configured to replace SMS as soon as operators around the world update their systems to support it.
More specifically, RCS Chat will replace SMS if operators update their systems to support the "Universal Profile," the version of RCS technology that allows messages to interact cleanly between operators. Currently, very few do; in the USA UU., That list includes Sprint, US cell phone. UU and limited assistance at T-Mobile. Other operators such as AT & T and Verizon use a patented text messaging system. The Redditors have maintained a spreadsheet of operators that do and are not compatible with the Universal Profile.
The GSMA told me that the Verizon RCS will be compatible with Universal Profile 1.0, but we talked to Verizon, and the company would not confirm that the RCS launch would support it, nor would it finalize the timeline. With luck, Khurjekar is referring to complete, universal profile RCS. If so, it would be a significant step towards supporting Google's plan for the next generation of text messages on Android phones, RCS Chat. It is a system that converts the basic text messages of the operator into something more complete, with support for writing indicators, group chats, high resolution media and reading receipts. Also, unfortunately, it will be unencrypted.
The New Jersey event focused on Business Messaging, which seems to be what drives the operator's interest, rather than creating a robust and consistent messaging system for consumers. Whatever works to make it happen! 3C, a mobile marketing company that has produced chatbots like this for Walgreens, believes that RCS will reach 147 million users by the end of 2019.
A little over a week ago Fierce wireless He pointed out that Twilio, a messaging-centric business with a penchant for joyful experiments, indicated that he believed Verizon would launch support for RCS in February. According to a Looking for alpha transcript, the Twilio CFO said that
Previously, Verizon has treated all P2P, or person to person and A2P or application to person, sending messages equally. Starting in February, Verizon plans to create a new service offering, which will add a quarter of the fee per cent per message to all companies with A2P SMS messaging use cases.
Read between the lines of jargon there and you'll see that Verizon is lining up the pieces to launch a wider messaging offer.
We communicate with AT & T and Google about this story, and until the time of publication, we have not had any news. However, earlier this month, AT & T provided us with the following statement about its RCS support:
AT & T launched RCS on Android devices as "Advanced Messaging" in 2015 as part of our messaging application at no additional cost. We are currently completing a network upgrade to support the Universal Profile, and anticipate the evolution of our network and online device support with updates to the GSMA standards.
In any case, things are finally, definitely happening. Whether it's small announcements in business forums or weird internal Verizon messages about Pixel 3 support for RCS, it looks like the replacement for SMS will finally arrive, just a few years later than we expected. The next question, besides "when", will be simply this: will it be as "universal" as it should be to work? We have to wait for operators, Google and Apple (who have not announced any support for RCS) to finish building their systems to see.