RCS poised for growth
SMS-capable mobile phones are 20 years old this month, according to an article I read this week. In fact, the first such devices were approved for sale in Europe in 1992 following an agreement between 13 European countries to develop what became the GSM mobile network. Though uptake of SMS was initially slow, we all know this service has become a mainstay of communication throughout the world today.
The evolution of SMS reminds me that Rich Communication Suite (RCS)—the next generation of messaging—is on a similar path. With the first RCS rollouts slated to occur within the next few months in Spain, followed by launches in Germany, France, and Italy, RCS has gained significant traction in Europe. Operators throughout the world are taking note, with numerous trials underway in North America and elsewhere.
Some have claimed that RCS may be too little, too late to compete with “over-the-top” services like WhatsApp and Skype. But device manufacturers clearly disagree, with 9 of the top 10 committing to building RCS clients into their handsets. Offered natively on devices and providing advanced features like group chat and file sharing, RCS is a natural extension of the original messaging service subscribers have embraced. And the fact remains that no other service available today lets users communicate across network and device type the way RCS can.