Verizon set to launch RCS service in 2019, according to reports

28 November 2018 | James Pearce

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Rich Communication Services is set to receive a boost in the United States after Verizon said it is set to launch support for the messaging technology, according to several reports.

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

RCS, which is a messaging communication protocol, allow text messages to flow unimpeded between carriers and devices, allowing for more intelligent messaging services than those currently available through SMS.

It has been pitched as a service necessary to compete with over-the-top messaging services but operators have been slow to deploy the service, despite the likes of Google backing RCS.

According to a report by The Verge Khurjekar told attendees at the GSMA event that the carrier will launch support for RCS messaging in “early 2019.” This followed originating from a Twilio investor call in which the messaging firm said Verizon had plans to launch a new messaging service.

“We continue to see things that could impact our gross margins like product, country and customer mix, network service provider fees, FX and more. An example of this is an expected change in Q1 2019 in our SMS messaging business through Verizon in the U.S.,” said Lee Kirkpatrick, Twilio’s CFO, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript of his remarks.

It means Verizon will join other US mobile operators, including T-Mobile US, AT&T and Sprint in making progress on the deployment of RCS. In April, Sprint unveiled the results of its initial RCS launch, made in partnership with Google. It said that that advertisers including 1-800 Contacts, 1-800-Flowers.com, Booking.com, SnapTravel and Subway, among others, had conducted advertising efforts using RCS.

AT&T launched a proprietary version of RCS for Android back in 2015, separating it from the industry profile that Google has been pushing. However, according to a report from Mobile World Live, the US telco is set to upgrade its network to support the universal RCS standards. No timeframe was given.

T-Mobile added support for the GSMA-backed Universal Profile earlier this year having launched the service in 2015.