When Apple introduced iMessage, it seemed like a strange move. Today, however, it is the standard by which messaging services are judged. That is partially because it was responsible for eliminating text messaging caps across the board, but it's also because it adds features to texting that the SMS standard lacks. For those who live in the Android ecosystem, iMessage offers delivery receipts as well as read receipts. Its biggest downfall, however, is that it is not a standard, but instead an Apple brand. That means that it is an iPhone exclusive.
However, there is a texting standard in the wild called Rich Communications Service which transforms the SMS standard into a more modern platform, bringing it in line with iMessage. Despite the standard being introduced in 2016, it has been implemented by nearly no one. Google announced in 2017 that 27 carriers worldwide had agreed to adopt the system, it is still nowhere to be found. In 2018, Google doubled down on RCS, but here we are.
The major US carriers, Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint, have announced a partnership called the Cross Carrier Messaging Initiative to bring RCS to the US market on Android devices in 2020. This would be an unprecedented move on the part of the carriers, who usually fight with one another on technological exclusivities. The carriers have finally realized, however, that the only way that RCS is useful to users is if it works everywhere with everyone. John Legere, CEO of T-Mobile, said,
Efforts like CCMI help move the entire industry forward so we can give customers more of what they want and roll out new messaging capabilities that work the same across providers and even across countries.
Once the Big 4 get involved, the smaller carriers, including virtual carriers, would likely follow suit. In the end, they might even be able to shame Apple into implementing RCS into iMessage, another unprecedented move.
Is the addition of RCS messaging to Android and possibly iOS a move that would make texting a better experience for you? Let us know in the comments.