The humble SMS might make a comeback and should not be considered to be dead entirely as the four major US carriers–AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon have partnered together to enable messaging based on RCS ecosystem. RCS stands for Rich Communication Services and it uses mobile data or Wi-Fi to receive SMS. In other words, with RCS, the humble SMS app can actually become a mighty rival for the likes of WhatsApp.
While the entire plan to introduce RTS-based texting has been botched up for quite some time in the US and Google has been pushing hard nothing significant has been done yet. However, the first step to RCS has been taken now with AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon creating a joint venture – the Cross Carrier Messaging Initiative (CCMI) – to deliver the next generation of messaging. The CCMI promises to introduce RCS-based messaging next year for Android devices.
WhatsApp’s parent Facebook doesn’t have a good reputation when it comes to user privacy and it will not take much time to make WhatsApp users make the switch if something similar is provided in the form of native SMS based on RCS.
Here’s how RCS improves the humble SMS
RCS enables people to send messages with up to 8000 characters instead of the 160 characters limit.
Users see Read Receipts and will also get to know when the other person is typing.
Photos and videos can be exchanged over RCS chat app.
It enables users to create group chats of up to 100 people.
RCS text service works over Wi-Fi and mobile data.
But to get this, all carriers must come together to make a come RCS chat app. In the US, this is happening but in India, there is no word on it. Meanwhile, there is no word as to whether this will offer end-to-end encryption (E2E) or not like WhatsApp and we still don’t know how telecom operators will convince people that RCS would offer better privacy.