China Set to Lead RCS Integration
At Mobile World Congress 2014, I was pleased to hear China Mobile announce the planned roll out of an integrated VoLTE and RCS service by the end of this year. Even better was the opportunity to see a demonstration of the service live in their booth. China Telecom intends to launch this integrated service, which they are calling “and” to its more than 189 million customers by years end. If China Unicom and China Telecom (and their regional companies) follow soon behind they will start the largest single country integration of RCS service globally.
It is important to note that China Mobile’s approach, unlike every RCS deployment to date, is not a downloadable application, but a true native embedded solution. This is the experience that was envisioned by the RCS standards but which has lagged due to demand from operators for embedded devices, and supply from device manufacturers who haven’t seen any pull. The applications NewPace saw were all natively embedded in the operating systems, with good user interfaces
NewPace is watching the developments in China very closely. Our recent announcement that our platform had completed Interoperability testing with D2 (link to D2/NewPace announcement) is important in this regard. D2 provides the software stacks that are embedded by handset manufacturers to enable VoLTE, IMS and now RCS services.
China Mobile’s announcement, makes it necessary for OEM manufacturers to begin embedding VoLTE, IMS and RCS software natively in their devices in order to meet this demand for the largest handset market in the world. With this technology easily at hand, it will ensure that RCS stacks can be provided as a standard option to operators all over the world. Most of the manufacturers are actually based in China. Western European and North American operators risk the Chinese RCS derivative becoming the defacto standard if they don’t hurry up and launch their services with vigour.
Soon there will be no reason operators cannot launch a full IP network with RCS services including, not only messaging, but true VoIP calling, Voice over WiFi, Video Calling and new enhanced services. The all IP handset devices will exist, most certainly the IMS infrastructure exists to support VoLTE, and RCS application servers and infrastructure also exists.
The RCS game has changed. The usual pundits may not be paying attention but we are.