According to the telecommunications industry news website Light Reading, which the three major US airlines are moving away from the Cross Carrier Messaging Initiative. The CCMI should be a collaborative effort to promote RCS, the next generation messaging standard designed to replace SMS. But while this may seem like bad news at first, it actually means that the airlines have given up on a bad plan that would have been bad for consumers. Whether they replace it with one or not Well As always at RCS, the plan remains to be seen.
The CCMI was launched in 2019 and after all the signs was a joint effort led by Sprint. It seemed like a mixed bag of news at first. At the time, any attempt by carriers to support proper cross-compatibility in RCS was a good sign. The bad thing, however, was that the consortium wanted to create an Android app for messaging functionality themselves. If you’ve ever used an app developed by a major US carrier you know this is a recipe for a bad experience.
Google wasn’t part of the CCMI announcement either, which was very strange given that Google is by far the biggest booster for the standard.
However, there has been little information or movement since this announcement. All carriers seemed too busy playing up 5G to really pay any attention to the CCMI. T-Mobile was also on the way to acquiring Sprint.
That acquisition took place and the one carrier that seemed enthusiastic about CCMI was taken over into another. Then last month T-Mobile has announced a big deal with Google This included switching from Android phones to Android messages as the standard RCS / SMS app. The writing was on the wall.
Easy reading Contacting the third party provider Synchronoss, which was originally supposed to take over the back-end logistics for the CCMI app (RCS can be performed via a network operator’s server, Google’s server, or a third-party server). While Synchronoss’ comment was non-committal, Verizon and AT&T are now only saying it for who it is. Here’s what Verizon said Easy reading::
The owners of the Cross Carrier Messaging Initiative decided to end the joint venture effort. However, the owners continue to strive to improve the messaging experience for customers, including increasing the availability of RCS.
Reached for a comment by The edgeAT&T gave us an almost identical statement.
The rollout for RCS around the world – and especially in the US – was terribly slow and even more terribly confusing. Phones that should be compatible weren’tCarriers who promised their RCS would work with others did not build these systems, and Apple continued to be absolutely silent about whether or not it would support RCS (and remains silent to this day).
However, Google has joined its plan and made bit-by-bit efforts to expand the adoption of RCS. It made RCS is available to anyone on any carrier using Android messaging as their SMS app. It cut back that deal with T-Mobile. It even has Test of end-to-end encryption via RCS in Android messages.
I’ll be the first to tell you that the rollout for RCS took a coordinated six month effort that was a win-win for both Carrier and Google, turning it into a multi-year slog that didn’t help anyone, least of all consumers. However, the end of the CCMI is a sign that carriers may just be implementing more consumer-friendly RCS policies, not that they are going away entirely. Instead, T-Mobile made this deal with Google. Will all AT&T and Verizon keep pulling their feet on RCS? Almost definitely. But at least they won’t be forcing an operator-made app on every Android user in the US.