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

US Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Validates Class Action Suit Over Data Breach

By: Peter Bernstein    7/27/2015

Since what follows is about legal matters, let me start with the disclosure that I am not a lawyer, have no legal training and this is not an attempt …

Read More

The Do's and Don'ts of Viral Content Promotion

By: Drew Hendricks    7/27/2015

Viral content promotion is the word we use to describe content that just simply takes off on its own. It creates a brand out of nothing and can quickl…

Read More

Windows 10: Z Generation is When Everything Will Change.

By: Rob Enderle    7/24/2015

I started looking at the new Windows 10 ads and it got me thinking about how much change we will have seen that the next generation of Windows users w…

Read More

AT&T-DirecTV Merger May Benefit Consumers in a Big Way

By: Tara Seals    7/24/2015

The FCC is about to approve a $49 billion merger between AT&T and DirecTV, the No. 1 US satellite TV provider, and if the conditions that the commissi…

Read More

AT&T, House of Cards and Net Neutrality

By: Doug Mohney    7/22/2015

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is green lighting AT&T's $49 billion takeover of DirecTV, in exchange for promises to abide by stricter Ne…

Read More