Rich Communications Services and the Promise of More Revenue

By Doug Mohney September 20, 2012

MetroPCS came out strongly for Rich Communications Services (RCS) over HD voice when it rolled out its Voice over LTE (VoLTE) service earlier this year. Company officials admitted it would take some education to inform people about the benefits of RCS.   So what good is it, anyway?

A number of companies started plugging the Rich Communications Suite and Rich Communications Services about five to six years ago. Service providers Orange, Telecom Italia, Telefonica, TeliaSonera joined with Ericsson, Nokia Siemens Networks, Nokia, Sony Ericsson and Samsung to establish implementation guidelines interoperable rich communications services built around IMS standards. RCS would offer an "Enhanced Phonebook," enhanced messaging, and "Enriched Call" to enabled multimedia content to be shared during a voice call. 


Image via Shutterstock

Today RCS-e (Rich Communications Suite-enhanced) is getting the lion's share of the attention, being promoted and managed to consumers by the GSMA under the trademark of "joyn." RCS-e is supposed to be "just there" and "just works" on a device, giving users easy access to enriched services over and above simple chat, file sharing or video transfer.   If you're communicating with someone else -- voice, text, voice -- you should be able to simply tap on an option to do joyn services, assuming they are also joyn-enabled on their phone.

Everything starts at an enhanced address book, either on a smartphone or PC. Chat and presence are automatically integrated into the address book, so if you want to contact someone you can see where they are and if they are available. Once you're connected via a communications session -- voice, chat, video -- you should be able to share multimedia (pictures, files, video) live simultaneously.   There's also standardized group chat and seamless video conferencing.

The best example of an "RCS-like" application is Metaswitch Network's Thrutu mobile phone app. It enables two-way sharing of phone, presence and URL-style information between callers using the non-RCS app while on a phone call, along with different "button" add-in functions to do such things as have a "meet me" function working from current locations of both parties. Since Metaswitch recently bought an RCS company, you can expect it to take the things it has learned from Thrutu and apply them into RCS and/or make Thrutu RCS-compliant.

GSMA says that trials and pilots of RCS and RCS-like have lead to more data and more traffic, so the technology can lead to both an increase in ARPU (average revenue per user) and customer loyalty (i.e., less churn).   With data as the new "minutes,” RCS could lead to more money for carriers in an era of declining ARPU due to unlimited voice and SMS messaging plans for service providers with monthly data caps. 




Edited by Brooke Neuman

Contributing Editor

SHARE THIS ARTICLE
Related Articles

Microsoft Research Project Allows for Inexpensive 3D Scanning from a Smartphone

By: Christopher Mohr    8/27/2015

It is now possible to perform 3D scanning from a smartphone, without additional hardware or an Internet connection, thanks to a new Microsoft Research…

Read More

Amazon's Scaled Back Consumer Device Efforts, Dash Button, and More

By: Paula Bernier    8/27/2015

Word is that Amazon is scaling way back on its consumer devices efforts, having let go of dozens of Lab126 engineers who worked on its Fire phone, acc…

Read More

The 4K War is Brewing, but Don't Expect a Crowned Winner

By: Special Guest    8/27/2015

The hype around 4K Ultra HD video is growing and we're seeing it gain traction in real ways. From the NFL Network and CBS using 4K cameras to capture …

Read More

Wallet Wars Part 2: Thanks to EMV, the Force is with Mobile Wallets

By: Special Guest    8/26/2015

In December 2015, when "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" hits movie theatres across the U.S., a very different type of force will 'awaken' the mobile wal…

Read More

Major Automakers Forge Alliance to Combat Cyberattackers

By: Joe Rizzo    8/25/2015

If you take a few minutes to think about what hackers go after, you'll realize that it is anything that has an Internet connection. Thanks to the Inte…

Read More