Google undermines US carrier RCS initiative by launching its own

smartphone data messaging

Less than a month after the four US MNOs announced a joint RCS initiative for Android, Google has decided to launch its own.

Google was conspicuously absent from the announcement of the Cross Carrier Messaging Initiative by AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile US and Sprint last month. Considering it was all about championing RCS on Android you have to assume there had been some dialogue between the operators and Google, but the omission of the latter from the press release indicated progress had been slow.

Now, having not done anything significant about RCS in the US for over a decade, Google has suddenly found the motivation to upgrade all SMS messaging on Android to RCS. In a brief blog post Sanaz Ahari, Product Management Director at Google, explained all the cool new things US Android users will now be able to do via the text function. It could almost have been a CCMI press release.

It’s hard to see this as anything other than a direct attempt to undermine the nascent CCMI project. The US operators saw Google’s RCS apathy as an opportunity to add some value themselves, so Google acted quickly to pull the rug out from under them. It could be that some of the features operators reckon they’re able to uniquely offer, such as keeping user data out of Google’s hands, might still give them an advantage, but this looks like a major setback for them.


  1. Avatar Svott 17/11/2019 @ 1:16 am

    This undermines the RCS initiative by AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Spint? GOOD! The press conference introducing the Big 4’s plans had a consistent.ans repeated phrase throughout: “increased revenue”. In other words, the Big 4 miss the days when they could charge everyone for every single text that they sent and their RCS plans would restore their gouge all of their customers for messaging. To hell with them.

  2. Avatar Trevor 10/08/2020 @ 3:42 pm

    I agree that the big 4 have been dragging their feet this with GSMA. however google are spiteful in many respects and they do not deserve to develop any new “system”. This undermines the work done by millions to promote RCS and the costs already spent. If Google choose to do their own “system” Mobile manufacturers seriously need to re-examining the already unethical relationship they have with google. Unfortunately this is the work of Sundar Pichai who is fundamentally an evil bastard. So if this what google intends to do it would not supprise me However i an assure you hundreds of mobile network providers will never support them especially in Africa

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