T-Mobile's RCS Standard "Advanced Messaging" Thrives

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As some of our readers will likely have heard, Google has been trying to roll out a rich communication services client for Android. Rich communication services is a messaging platform that supports tons of functions that aren't present in normal SMS or even most services with a web backend, such as Google's own Hangouts or Facebook's Messenger. Features like sharing of large videos, sound snippets and native emoji support, as well as deep integration with other apps, are typical of the platform. While Google has the blessing of Sprint for their rich communication services platform, T-Mobile has decided to go their own way with an app called Advanced Messaging. While few providers and developers have adopted rich communication services just yet and Google's own attempts are still in their infancy, T-Mobile's Advanced Messaging is used by over 5.5 million users on T-Mobile's network.

T-Mobile was the first carrier to introduce a service based on rich communication services back in July of last year and has quickly gained ground in the field. At this point, about 40 million messages are delivered via rich communication services per day, according to a statement that T-Mobile made to Fierce Wireless. Competitor AT&T launched their own Advanced Messaging platform back in November of last year, but has yet to gain as significant a user base for it as T-Mobile has found for their own service. Part of the success of T-Mobile Advanced Messaging platform is due to the fact that roughly 6 million existing T-Mobile handsets support the standard out of the box, with very few users knocking the platform simply because it's not an option for them.

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Outside of T-Mobile's sphere of success, however, rich communication services as a platform isn't doing so well. Worldwide, rich communication services apps and services are passed over en masse in favor of apps like Messenger, KakaoTalk and WhatsApp. In South Korea, two large carriers went as far as to announce they were discontinuing their own rich communication services clients, citing the popularity of local favorite KakaoTalk. The general consensus is that if Google fails to create and popularize a good rich communication services client, the platform will likely be well on its way to becoming a footnote in tech history.