Rich Communication Services

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Rich Communication Services
Developer(s)GSM Association
Initial release2012
Operating systemAndroid, Windows 10
Available inMultilingual
TypeInstant Messaging
LicenseProprietary software

Rich Communication Services (RCS)[1] is a communication protocol between mobile-telephone carriers and between phone and carrier, aiming at replacing SMS messages with a text-message system that is richer, provides phonebook polling (for service discovery), and can transmit in-call multimedia.

It is also marketed as Advanced Messaging, Advanced Communications,[2] Chat, joyn,[3] Message+ and SMS+.[4]


The Rich Communication Suite industry initiative[5] was formed by a group of industry promoters in 2007. In February 2008 the GSM Association officially became the project ‘home’ of RCS and an RCS steering committee was established by the organisation.

The scope of the steering committee's work was to entail the definition, testing, and integration of the services in the application suite known as RCS.[6][7][8] Three years later, the RCS project released a new specification – RCS-e (e = ‘enhanced’), which included various iterations of the original RCS specifications. The GSMA program is now called Rich Communication Services.[9]

The GSMA published the Universal Profile in November 2016.[10] The Universal Profile is a globally agreed, single GSMA specification for advanced communications. Carriers that deploy the Universal Profile guarantee interconnection with other carriers. 47 mobile network operators, 11 manufacturers, and 2 OS providers (Google and Microsoft) have announced their support.[11] Google's Jibe Cloud platform is an implementation of the RCS Universal Profile, designed to help carriers launch RCS quickly and scale easily.[12]

Samsung is the major device OEM to support RCS globally. Samsung RCS capable devices have been commercially launched in Europe since 2012 and in the United States since 2015.

Google supports RCS on Android devices with the Android Messages app. In April 2018, it was reported that Google would be transferring the team that was working on its Google Allo messaging service to work on a wider RCS implementation, which will be marketed under the branding Chat.[13][14][15]

RCS specifications[edit]

RCS combines different services defined by 3GPP and Open Mobile Alliance (OMA) with an enhanced phonebook. Another phone's capabilities and presence information can be discovered and displayed by a mobile phone. RCS reuses 3GPP specified IMS core system as the underlying service platform taking care of issues such as authentication, authorization, registration, charging and routing.

Release 1 Version 1.0 (15.12.2008)
Offered the first definitions for the enrichment of voice and chat with content sharing, driven from an RCS enhanced address book.
Release 2 Version 1.0 (31.08.2009)
Added broadband access to RCS features: enhancing the messaging and enabling sharing of files.
Release 3 Version 1.0 (25.02.2010)
Focused on the broadband device as a primary device.
Release 4 Version 1.0 (14.02.2011)
Included support for LTE.
Release 5 Version 1.0 (19.04.2012)
RCS 5.0 is completely backward compatible with RCS-e V1.2 specifications and also includes features from RCS 4 and new features such as IP video call, IP voice call and Geo-location exchange. Global interoperability is a key aspect of these specifications, and RCS5.0 supports both OMA CPM and OMA SIMPLE IM. RCS 5.0 includes following features listed below.
  • Standalone Messaging
  • 1-2-1 Chat
  • Group Chat
  • File Transfer
  • Content Sharing
  • Social Presence Information
  • IP Voice call (IR92 and IR.58)
  • IP Video call (IR.94)
  • Geolocation Exchange
  • Capability Exchange based on Presence or SIP OPTIONS
Release 5.1
5.1 is completely backward compatible with the RCS-e V1.2 and RCS 5.0 specifications. It introduces additional new features such as Group Chat Store & Forward, File Transfer in Group Chat, File Transfer Store & Forward, and Best Effort Voice Call, as well as lessons-learnt and bug fixes from the V1.2 interoperability testing efforts. Global interoperability is a key aspect of these specifications, and 5.1 supports both OMA CPM and OMA SIMPLE IM.
  • Version 1.0 (13.08.2012)
  • Version 2.0 (03.05.2013)
  • Version 3.0 (25.09.2013)
  • Version 4.0 (28.11.2013)
Release 5.2 Version 5.0 (07.05.2014)
Improved central message store and introduced service extension tags into the specification. It also introduced a number of incremental improvements and bug fixes to RCS 5.1 V4.0 that improve the user experience and resolve issues that were noticed in deployed RCS networks
Release 5.3 Version 6.0 (28.02.2015)
Release 6.0 Version 7.0 (21.03.2016)
Support for Visual Voice Mail and more
Release 7.0 Version 8.0 (28.06.2017)
Support for Chatbots, SMS fallback features and more
Release 8.0 Version 9.0 (16.05.2018)
Support for additional Chatbots features and vCard 4.0

RCS-e (enhanced)[edit]

Initial Version (May 2011)
Version 1.2 (28.11.2011)
Version 1.2.2 (04.07.2012)


The GSMA defined a series of specific implementations of the RCS specifications. The RCS specifications often define a number of options for implementing individual communications features, resulting in challenges in delivering interoperable services between carriers. The RCS specifications aim to define a more specific implementation that promote standardization and simplify interconnection between carriers.

At this time there are two major relevant releases:

  • joyn Hot Fixes - based upon the RCS 1.2.2 specification (previously known as RCS-e), this includes 1:1 chat, group chat, MSRP file sharing and video sharing (during a circuit switched call). Services based upon this specification are live in Spain, France and Germany.
  • joyn Blackbird Drop 1 - based upon the RCS 5.1 specification, this extends the joyn Hot Fixes service to include HTTP file sharing, location sharing, group file sharing, and other capabilities such as group chat store and forward. joyn Blackbird Drop 1 is backward compatible with joyn Hot Fixes. Vodafone Spain's network is accredited for joyn Blackbird Drop 1, and Telefónica and Orange Spain have also been involved in interoperability testing with vendors of joyn Blackbird Drop 1 clients. A number of client vendors are accredited to joyn Blackbird Drop 1.

Two or more future releases are planned:

  • joyn Blackbird Drop 2 - also based upon the RCS 5.1 specification, this will primarily add IP voice and video calling. The test cases for joyn Blackbird Drop 2 have yet to be released by the GSMA.
  • joyn Crane - Already available in GSMA web page.

RCS Universal Profile[edit]

The GSMA's Universal Profile is a single, industry-agreed set of features and technical enablers developed to simplify the product development and global operator deployment of RCS.[16]

Version 1.0 (November 2016)
Includes core features such as capability discovery which will be interoperable between regions, chat, group chat, file transfer, audio messaging, video share, multi-device, enriched calling, location share and live sketching.
Version 2.0 (July 2017)
Includes Messaging as a Platform, APIs, plug-in integration and improved authentication and app security.
Version 2.1 (December 2017)
Version 2.2 (May 2018)
Version 2.3 (December 2018)


According to GSMA PR, Rich Communication Services (RCS) carriers from around the globe supporting the RCS standard include AT&T, Bell Mobility, Bharti Airtel, Deutsche Telekom, Jio, KPN, KT Corporation, LG U+, Orange, Orascom Telecom, Rogers Communications, SFR, SK Telecom, Telecom Italia, Telefónica, Telia Company, Telus, Verizon and Vodafone.[17]

Universal Profile is currently backed by 68 supporters:[18]

RCS launches[19]
Operator Country Launch date Note
Movistar  Spain June 2012 [20] Branded as joyn.
MetroPCS  United States November 2012 [20] Branded as joyn.
KT  South Korea December 2012 [20][21] Branded as joyn.
LG U+  South Korea December 2012 [20][21] Branded as joyn.
SK Telecom  South Korea December 2012 [20][21] Branded as joyn.
Deutsche Telekom  Germany February 2013 [20] Branded as Message+[22]
Telcel  Mexico February 2013 [20] Branded as joyn.
Claro Multiple markets May 2013 [20] Branded as joyn.
Sprint  United States October 2013 Launched as a separate application
U.S. Cellular  United States October 2018 Universal Profile [23]
Telekom  Romania June 2014 [24][25] Branded as joyn.
Slovak Telekom  Slovakia June 2014 [24][25] Branded as joyn.
O2  Germany 2015 [26] Branded as Message+Call.
T-Mobile US  United States July 2015 [27] Branded as Advanced Messaging.
AT&T  United States November 2015 Branded as Advanced Messaging and Video Call.[28][29]
MTS  Russia December 2015 [30] Branded as MTS Connect.
Jio  India September 2016 [31] Branded as Jio4GVoice.
Sprint  United States November 2016 [32] Branded as RCS. Universal Profile.
Rogers Wireless  Canada December 2016 Universal Profile.
Fido Solutions  Canada December 2016 Universal Profile.
Telenor Multiple markets February 2017 Universal Profile.[33]
Vodafone Multiple markets 2012-2017 [34] Universal Profile.[35]

[20][36][37][38][39] First Branded as joyn. Since November 2013 Message+.

Telstra  Australia October 2017 Branded as Telstra Messaging.[40]
Telia Company  Sweden December 2017 Branded as SMS+.[41]
Telia Company  Norway February 2018 Branded as SMS+.[41]
Globe Telecom  Philippines February 2018 Universal Profile
NTT Docomo  Japan May 2018 Branded as +Message.[42]
KDDI  Japan May 2018 Branded as +Message.[42]
SoftBank Corp.  Japan May 2018 Branded as +Message.[42]
Freedom Mobile  Canada October 2018 Universal Profile.
Verizon  United States December 2018 Branded as Chat and launched as part of Android's default Messenger app with initial rollout for Pixel 3 phones
Google Fi  United States January 2019 Universal Profile.
Telekom Albania  Albania Universal Profile.
Bell  Canada Universal Profile.
China Mobile  China Universal Profile.
Orange Multiple markets 2012-2017 Branded as Chat Messages in Romania[43], joyn elsewhere[20][24][25].

[44]Since July 2018 branded as Chat - Universal profile in Slovakia.

[45]Service in France was interrupted as of November 14, 2017.

COSMOTE  Greece Universal Profile.
Telekom  Hungary Universal Profile.
Celcom  Malaysia Universal Profile.
Vodacom  South Africa Universal Profile.
Illinois Valley Cellular  United States Universal Profile.
Tiercel Wireless  United States Universal Profile.
TracFone Wireless  United States Universal Profile.

GSMA RCS accreditation[edit]

The RCS Interop and Testing (IOT) accreditation process [46] was started by the GSMA in order to improve the quality of testing, increase transparency, drive scale, minimize complexity and accelerate time-to-market (TTM) of joyn services. Companies need to undertake the IOT process from the GSMA to apply for a license to use the service mark joyn.

"Accredited" means that the device, client or network has undertaken a series of test cases (150 to 300) in a specific set of conditions, provided test results and traces that have been analysed by the GSMA RCS IOT team and any IOT issues arising resolved with the submitter.[47]

"Accreditation Ready" is the designation awarded to a hosted RCS service that has undertaken the same series of test cases as mobile network operator operator, provided test results and traces that have been analysed by the GSMA RCS IOT team and any IOT issues arising resolved with the submitter.[47] Android Messages from Google has never been GSMA accredited while Samsung, WIT, SumitTech and many other client and network vendors have been accredited.


Amnesty International researcher Joe Westby criticized RCS for not allowing end-to-end encryption, because it is treated as a service of carriers and thus subject to possible surveillance.[48][49]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Advanced Messaging - Network 2020". Network 2020. Retrieved 24 February 2017.
  3. ^ "About joyn". GSMA. Archived from the original on 29 January 2013. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  4. ^ "SMS+ -". (in Swedish). Retrieved 20 April 2018.
  5. ^ Joyn, un servicio de mensajería instantánea limitado a las operadoras móviles -
  6. ^ "Rich Communications". GSMA. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  7. ^ "Strategic Rationale". GSMA. Archived from the original on 3 March 2014. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  8. ^ Operators, Ecosystem & Hosted Solutions | Network 2020 Archived 2 October 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "Rich Communications – past, present & future". GSMA. Archived from the original on 23 May 2012. Retrieved 18 October 2012.
  10. ^ "Universal Profile FAQs" (PDF). GSMA. 17 November 2016. Archived from the original (PDF) on 30 January 2017. Retrieved 24 February 2017.
  11. ^ "Universal profile - Network 2020". Network 2020. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
  12. ^ "Jibe Platform". Retrieved 24 February 2017.
  13. ^ "Google gives up on Google Allo, hopes carriers will sort out RCS messaging". Ars Technica. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
  14. ^ "Exclusive: Chat is Google's next big fix for Android's messaging mess". The Verge. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
  15. ^ "Google is 'pausing investment' in Allo". The Verge.
  16. ^ "Universal profile - Network 2020". Network 2020. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
  17. ^ "Mobile Operators Show Increased Momentum In Rich Communications". PR Newswire. Retrieved 27 February 2012.
  18. ^ "Universal profile - Network 2020". Network 2020. Retrieved 14 February 2019.
  19. ^ "Global Launches - Future Networks". Retrieved 14 February 2019.
  20. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "RCS Fact October 2013" (PDF). GSMA. 29 October 2013. Retrieved 9 March 2014.
  21. ^ a b c "Korean operators launch joyn service". Telecompaper. 27 December 2012. Retrieved 27 December 2012.
  22. ^
  23. ^ "Get More Out ofTexting". US Cellular. n.d. Retrieved 28 October 2018.
  24. ^ a b c "Jibe Mobile powers Deutsche Telekom joyn expansion in Romania and Slovakia" Fierce Wireless. 2014-06-30. Retrieved 2014-07-02.
  25. ^ a b c "Cosmote Romania, Slovak Telekom launch Joyn apps". Telecompaper. 30 June 2014. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
  26. ^ "Die neue O2 Message+Call App: Jetzt mit dem Smartphone im WLAN telefonieren" (in German). o2 Germany. 11 August 2015. Retrieved 26 November 2015.
  27. ^ "Announcing Advanced Messaging. Only at T-Mobile". T-Mobile. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  28. ^ "AT&T Launches Video Calling and Advanced Messaging". AT&T. Retrieved 3 October 2016.
  29. ^ "Advanced Messaging". AT&T. Retrieved 3 October 2016.
  30. ^ "MTS Connect". MTS. Retrieved 25 December 2015.
  31. ^ "RCS launches" (PDF). GSMA. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  32. ^ "Partnering with global carriers to upgrade SMS".
  33. ^ "Partnering with Telenor to launch RCS messaging in Europe and Asia". Google. 16 February 2017. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
  34. ^ "Global Launches - Future Networks". GSMA. Retrieved 10 November 2017.
  35. ^ "Delivering RCS messaging to Android users worldwide". Google. 24 February 2017. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
  36. ^ "WhatsApp-Konkurrent: Vodafone startet mit Message+" (in German). teltarif. 8 November 2013. Retrieved 28 April 2014.
  37. ^ "Vodafone Albania introduces monthly bundle, Message+". Telecompaper. 28 April 2014. Retrieved 28 April 2014.
  38. ^ "Understanding Message+ and RCS: Why we're giving you the future of texting before anyone else". Vodafone UK. 10 September 2014. Retrieved 18 August 2016.
  39. ^ "Your texts and chat messages - all in one place". Vodafone UK. Retrieved 18 August 2016.
  40. ^ "Telstra Messaging FAQs - Telstra Crowdsupport - 713814". Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  41. ^ a b "Telia Company partners with Google for Improved Messaging Service". Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  42. ^ a b c 田中聡 (10 April 2018). "SMSやキャリアメールとの違いは? 「+メッセージ」でできること、できないこと". ITmedia mobile (in Japanese). ITmedia Inc. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
  43. ^ "Orange anunţă Chat Messages, serviciu bazat pe standardul RCS". 16 October 2017. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
  44. ^ Živé.sk. "Orange podporuje Chat v Androide. Konkurenciu pre Viber či Messenger (Slovak)". Živé.sk. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
  45. ^ "Le service joyn n'est plus disponible". Orange. Retrieved 21 April 2018.
  46. ^ GSMA Accreditation and Certification by Global Certification Forum (GCF) | Network 2020
  47. ^ a b "GSMA RCS Interop and Testing". GSMA. Archived from the original on 12 October 2012. Retrieved 18 October 2012.
  48. ^ "Google's new Chat service shows total contempt for Android users' privacy". Amnesty International. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  49. ^ "Google's new chat service won't be secure like iMessage and WhatsApp: Amnesty International". The Indian Express. 22 April 2018. Retrieved 24 April 2018.

External links[edit]