For years now, one of the biggest questions hanging over the future of Android is this: “When is RCS messaging coming to everyone?” It seems 2020 could be the big year, as the Big Four US carriers just announced a new initiative to make it happen together.
The so-called Big Four — Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint — just announced via a Verizon press release that they are joining forces to create the Cross Carrier Messaging Initiative (CCMI). This initiative’s goal is to bring standards-based Rich Communications Service (RCS) messaging to all Android customers on each of the four carriers by the end of 2020.
This initiative represents a major shift in tone for the carriers, which have been dragging their collective feet for years when it comes to RCS messaging. It’s possible Google’s own recent initiative — that bypasses the carriers entirely, putting Google in control — was the fire needed to get the carriers to actually do something.
However, the announcement is vague on one of the most important aspects of RCS messaging: privacy. The word “encryption” doesn’t appear anywhere in the release, but it does say that it will “enable an enhanced experience to privately send individual or group chats across carriers with high-quality pictures and videos.” I guess the word “privately” is a good sign?
Ultimately, this CCMI project sounds like a lot of big talk rather than big action. Just because all four carriers are joining forces and promise to bring RCS messaging to Android in 2020 doesn’t really mean much. It’s still just words which is what we’ve had from all of them for years.
Still, the four of them coming together for one goal is a rarity, so it’s possible this CCMI agreement could be the start of an actual widescale rollout of RCS messaging. We’ll need to wait and see.
In the meantime, if you want to experience RCS messaging on an Android device, you’ll need to use Google’s own Messages app and communicate with other Android users on the same platform while using specific devices in specific countries. Or, you can use specific Samsung devices on specific carriers. Either way, good luck meeting all the requirements.
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