Sprint, Google Partner to Launch RCS App for Android Users

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Hot off the heels of the Mobile World Congress and Google’s announcement to support Rich Communications Services (RCS), which Rethink-Wireless.com said “was meant to be the de facto standard which made MNO-provided voice and messaging relevant in the age of Skype,” Sprint also wants to support RCS by launching messaging in a partnership with Google.

Even though Rethink-Wireless.com reported that RCS’ progress with Google has been slow, Sprint’s announcement has breathed new life into the program that adds items like group chat and video messaging to “carrier-supplied voice and SMS” networks in either 3G or 4G. Google’s version is for Android and is touted to be of better quality than WhatsApp, Skype or Facebook Messenger for example. OEMs can pre-install the program on their phones via Google Play.

Rethink-Wireless.com said that having Google in play may be a “double-edged sword for operators, since it puts a standard which was supposed to be controlled by the MNOs, into the hands of the greatest challenger to their power.” 

Google’s RCS chief Amir Sarhangi wrote on a company blog: “Together with Sprint, we’re launching RCS messaging to their customers using Android devices, starting today. This will bring enhanced features including group chat, high-res photo sharing, read receipts and more to the standard SMS experience upgraded through the Messenger app for Android devices, developed by Google. Next year, all new Android devices from Sprint will come with Messenger for Android preloaded as the default SMS and RCS messaging experience.” Sarhangi added that subscribers with LG and Nexus phones will get automatic upgrades, while other Android subscribers can download Messenger from Google Play.

While Sprint is the latest to go the RCS route in the United States, T-Mobile has had the technology since last June with Advanced Messaging, according to Rethink-Wireless.com. T-Mobile said that more than 5.5 million customers were on the service, sending 40 million messages daily.

November 8, 2016

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