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Google is proving that RCS is more than alive and well

Posted on: November 19th, 2015 by Mobile Communications

Based on a review of publicly available information, Jibe’s platform doesn’t negate IMS and, as I understand it, requires an interfaces with an operator’s IMS platform. RCS application servers are just hosted in another location (‘the cloud’), and operated by another party (‘Jibe’) – this is a different business model not a different technology model. Unlike NewNet’s solution, Jibe’s solution cannot be deployed within an operator’s network without IMS. It does not include:

• OMA Presence
• Multi-device support
• Common Message Store
• VoIP calling with bi-directional integration with Circuit Switched Calling
• Fully bi-directional interoperability between IP Messaging to SMS (IPSMGW)
• The OMA Network API
• WebRTC support and several other critical features (OMA CPM anyone?) in the RCS specifications.

Google is American. The telecom industry is one of the most highly regulated industries globally. Most nations have laws and regulations regarding data privacy, legal intercept and foreign control of national communications. Many nations preclude data being stored in the USA. Operators will always have to evaluate any hosted Google RCS service offering against their own national regulatory framework. Blackberry learned this with its BBM service in India and so has Apple in the USA in its battle with the FBI. WhatsApp is fighting this in India and in the UK. Jibe could operate under the radar of national regulatory authorities with its small user base. Google cannot.

It is unlikely that Google is about to start cooperating with hundreds of governments world-wide, nor can they launch Google Fi as a global telephone company. This means there still is a huge opportunity for the infrastructure vendor community, but only if they operate with quality, innovation and speed.

Google isn’t going to launch API’s any time soon. Google will not become the next Twillio. No one I’ve spoken to in the industry is aware of any implementations of the OMA RCS Network API by Jibe. Furthermore, Google has long had the ability (and credibility) to create such an API with its numerous Google Voice and Talk APIs and they haven’t. We don’t see Google launching API’s any time soon.

My Conclusion. Google has just shown everyone in the telecom world that RCS is not dead. Google is going to rapidly accelerate the deployment of RCS, with a high level of standardization in the Android operating system. It will be a multi-pronged approach with a reference Android client solution and an optionally hosted back-end for operators to get started. This will spur operators to get moving on deploying their own infrastructure to take advantage of the breaking of the log jam of having RCS clients available.

Brent Newsome- Vice President Business Development