Nowadays, most of us are on WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger or LINE. These instant chat applications have gradually taken place, but not entirely replaced, the old SMS/MMS protocol, which is now only rarely used.
We can hear more and more about the RCS. Google keeps putting this little abbreviation in every sentence when it talks about chat applications, especially when its own – including Google Allo – have never been able to capture the market.

What is the RCS?

RCS stands for “Rich Communication Services.” It refers to a protocol developed by the GSMA consortium. You will have understood it: it is a free protocol, depending on the IP protocol.

It is about offering SMS / MMS messages of yesteryear the same functionalities that make the strength of services like Facebook Messenger. Also, this standard can be used by any smartphone manufacturer on any device and works on any network and server.
However, the RCS does not go through the simple GSM network, but naturally through 4G or Wi-Fi. Nevertheless, applications using it can easily recognize each other and can therefore effectively enjoy all these features without limits. And this, no matter what the platform: phone, tablet, computers, everything is okay.

The philosophy behind the RCS

The RCS don’t take party neutral. So, all devices and manufacturers have access to it, so that users can finally taste this famous “iMessage for All” without having to have the same product from the same manufacturer with the same application. All you need is an RCS-compatible application, and all features are immediately unlocked.

Moreover, this does not prevent competition. The RCS may be a standard, but applications using it are still very heterogeneous concerning the interface and the name they want. That explains the compatibility between Android Messages and Samsung Messages even though their goals are very different.

Adoption of the SCN

Everything sounds perfect. However, this standard is not readily accepted. On the one hand, it involves many different actors, all need to cooperate, including operators. For them, SMS/MMS are still a valuable asset that will not be replaced by the RCS. For the implementation of this protocol, an investment without necessarily any return that may be unpleasant. Most operators have announced that they want to support the RCS, but few have made the necessary deployments at this time.

In this sense, it seems that the RCS is intended to replace SMS/MMS in one way or another. The only unknown is finally the time it will take, linked to the time it will take for an agreement to be reached between all these different market players.