Verizon, AT&T working on RCS upgrades - Mobile World Live

Verizon, AT&T working on RCS upgrades

20 NOV 2018

Rich Communication Services (RCS) messaging received a boost in the US as Verizon confirmed plans to launch support for the technology and AT&T announced it will upgrade an early proprietary implementation to a global standard.

In a statement to Mobile World Live (MWL), a Verizon representative verified it plans to deploy the RCS messaging standard in early 2019, but said launch specifics and a more detailed timeline will not be available until nearer that time.

Verizon’s expected launch was reported by various news outlets after SVP of consumer products Aparna Khurjekar revealed the operator’s plans at a GSMA business messaging event.

RCS offers enhanced messaging services including group chat, videos and location sharing without the need to download an OTT app. A standardised version of the technology, known as Universal Profile, was launched by the GSMA and Google in February 2016 to enable global interoperability and add new features.

AT&T, which launched a proprietary version of RCS for Android in 2015, told MWL it is “currently completing a network upgrade to support the Universal Profile” standard and anticipates “evolving our network and device support in line with upgrades to the GSMA standards”. It did not, however, provide a timeframe for the changes.

In 2015, T-Mobile US became the first operator in the US to launch RCS, but support for Universal Profile wasn’t added until earlier this year and remains limited to a handful of devices.

Sprint debuted RCS with Universal Profile support in November 2016.

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Diana Goovaerts

Diana is Mobile World Live's US Editor, reporting on infrastructure and spectrum rollouts, regulatory issues, and other carrier news from the US market. Diana came to GSMA from her former role as Editor of Wireless Week and CED Magazine, digital-only...

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