Telenor enables Google’s RCS messaging in Europe and Asia

(Image Credit: iStockPhoto/SIphotography)

Telenor is rolling out Google’s Rich Communication Services (RCS) to customers in Europe and Asia, which it hopes will succeed SMS.

As with most technologies over time, SMS is quickly becoming a relic as more people adopt feature-rich IP messaging solutions like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. These solutions, however, are not universal and require the other user to have the same app installed.

This initiative will greatly simplify and accelerate adoption of the technology

RCS is built into Android’s stock ‘Messenger’ app installed on all Google Play-enabled handsets. As the world’s biggest mobile operating system, this carries a lot of weight and offers more peace-of-mind the person you’re messaging has a device capable of receiving an RCS message (if the carrier supports it.)

Google partnered with Sprint in the US last November and with Rogers in Canada the following month to bring RCS to their customers. Telenor marks the third carrier to enable Google’s RCS and the first in Europe and Asia.

With over 214 million mobile subscriptions, Telenor Group is one of the world’s major mobile operators. The company has a presence in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Serbia, Montenegro, Hungary, Bulgaria, Bangladesh, Thailand, Malaysia, Pakistan, India, and Myanmar. The company enabling Google’s messaging solution for their customers is a momentous step for RCS.

SMS is quickly becoming a relic as more people adopt feature-rich IP messaging solutions

RCS enables features which users have come to expect in their messaging apps such as group chats, high-resolution photo sharing, and delivery receipts. The service is being powered by Jibe’s RCS cloud after Google acquired the company in September 2015.

Google’s RCS messaging implementation supports the GSMA universal profile – a standard supported by more than 58 carriers and manufacturers and covering a subscriber base of 4.7 billion people globally.

Speaking on the deployment of RCS services, GSMA CTO Alex Sinclair said: “This initiative will greatly simplify and accelerate adoption of the technology, and points to the future of how mobile users will communicate with one another. Google’s contributions will provide operators a new opportunity for a rich, consistent implementation across Android devices and offer a real step change in messaging experiences for consumers worldwide.”

Today marks a big step forward in global RCS access, but there’s a lot more work to be done before we can send multimedia-rich messages with the confidence of SMS.

What are your thoughts on RCS messaging? Let us know in the comments.

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