The Rich Communications Services (RCS), a robust messaging standard comes as an upgrade to SMS and MMS, bringing features found in third-party services like WhatsApp to basic text messaging, such as real-time typing and read notifications, location update, and emoticons support.
While the standard was initially formed by group of leading mobile industry players in 2007, and officially adopted by GSMA in 2008 with a Steering Committee established, the GSMA later entered into partnership with Google and 15 global carriers to push the adoption of Rich Communication Services (RCS).
Now, the following mobile carriers in the United States, namely Verizon, Sprint, AT&T and T-Mobile have finally gotten the approval to offer a universal cross-carrier communication standard for the next-generation RCS messaging service.
The leading mobile carriers will replace SMS with RCS mobile messaging standard, and are already working with interest groups and other connected mobile companies to deploy the new RCS standard in text messaging app for Android phones which is expected to be fully launched by 2020.
This joint venture is dubbed the Cross Carrier Messaging Initiative (CCMI), and meant to deliver the Rich Communications Service (RCS) industry standard to consumers of the four carriers in the United States and subsequently to the global markets.
But RCS-based messages aren't end-to-end encrypted, and Apple, one of the leading mobile player, seems to have no interest in RCS as it already offers more than the technology is promising on iMessage.
The above points have hindered the general adoption of the standard, coupled with complicated mobile carrier and phone maker policies, with carriers and service providers offering to implement non-universal specifications for RCS standard, which limits the RCS-based messages only to the subscribers of the networks.
On the security front, RCS involves message verification and certification mechanisms which ensures that users interact with legitimate brands, thus protecting them from fraudulent activities from impersonators, or phishing attacks. Additionally, RCS message traffic via the device and network can be protected using SIP-over-TLS encryption protocol.
The new RCS technology is really exciting because it brings the capabilities of messaging systems like Apple's iMessage and special services such as Telegram to basic SMS regardless of device. Also, the RCS capabilities expand beyond messaging, as it works with contacts app, for instance, it can enable you to see who else in your phonebook has got support for the new technology.