All four major U.S. carriers agree to develop the next generation of messaging for Android

All four major U.S. carriers agree to develop the next generation of messaging for Android
All four major U.S. carriers released the same exact press release on Thursday announcing the creation of a joint venture called the Cross Carrier Messaging Initiative (CCMI). The goal is to deliver to consumers and businesses "the next generation of messaging." This will be accomplished through the use of Rich Communication Services (RCS), a technology that uses a phone's data connection instead of cellular to send and receive messages.

With RCS, Android users will be able to send messages as long as 8,000 characters instead of the 160 limit that the current SMS system is capped at. Users will also receive a read receipt when a message they sent has been read by the recipient, and will also be able to see when the recipient is in the midst of typing a response to a message already sent. Larger-sized photo and video files can be exchanged, and group chats with up to 100 people can take place. And with RCS, chats can take place over Wi-Fi.

All four major U.S. carriers will support cross-carrier RCS messaging on Android devices


To take advantage of RCS, all parties in a conversation must be using a messaging app that works with the platform. Because U.S. carriers have not really supported it, RCS has only been available for a small number of handsets in the states. For example, last year Verizon enabled the feature for the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, but recently said that it would not support it for the brand new Pixel 4 line. Google was expected to do in the U.S. what it did with uncooperating carriers in Europe; last year it allowed Android users in the U.K. and France to opt-in to a service called RCS Chat, pulling an end around the disapproving carriers.

In the press release, the four major U.S. carriers said that CCMI would be working with carriers and other companies in the RCS ecosystem to develop "the standards-based, interoperable messaging service" for Android phones starting next year. The goals would be to develop a consumer-to-business ecosystem and accelerate the adoption of RCS; allow individual and group chats to be possible across carriers while allowing users to share high-quality pictures and videos; make it possible for consumers to chat with their favorite brands, order a rideshare, schedule appointments and pay bills using this service; and create an RCS system that will work across carriers in the U.S. and globally.


While more details will be available at a later date, executives from all four major U.S. wireless providers  had something to say about the creation of the Cross Carrier Messaging Initiative:

"People love text messaging for a reason. Texting is trusted, reliable and readily available—which is why we're using it to build the foundation of a simple, immersive messaging experience. This service will power new and innovative ways for customers to engage with each other and their favorite brands."-David Christopher, executive vice president, and general manager, AT&T Mobility.

"The CCMI will bring a consistent, engaging experience that makes it easy for consumers and businesses to interact in an environment they can trust. As we have seen in Asia, messaging is poised to become the next significant digital platform. CCMI will make it easy for consumers to navigate their lives from a smartphone."-Michel Combes, President & CEO, Sprint.

"At the Un-carrier, customers drive everything we do, and that's no different here. Efforts like CCMI help move the entire industry forward so we can give customers more of what they want and roll out new messaging capabilities that work the same across providers and even across countries."-John Legere, CEO, T-Mobile

"At Verizon, our customers depend on reliable text messaging to easily connect them to the people they care about most. Yet, we can deliver even more working together as an industry. CCMI will create the foundation for an innovative digital platform that not only connects consumers with friends and family but also offers a seamless experience for consumers to connect with businesses in a compelling and trusted environment."-Ronan Dunne, CEO, Verizon Consumer Group.

We imagine that Google is one of the companies working with the CCMI. If so, this agreement probably means that it will not try to bypass the carriers to disseminate the RCS Chat service in the U.S.

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19 Comments

1. Vokilam

Posts: 1344; Member since: Mar 15, 2018

Android is finally going to catch up to iMessage.

2. OneLove123

Posts: 1245; Member since: Aug 28, 2018

iMessage is only big in America.

5. Vokilam

Posts: 1344; Member since: Mar 15, 2018

Doesn’t make my point any less true.

12. TBomb

Posts: 1632; Member since: Dec 28, 2012

True, but it makes it less relevant.

18. Vokilam

Posts: 1344; Member since: Mar 15, 2018

LoL. Touché.

7. yalokiy

Posts: 1077; Member since: Aug 01, 2016

It doesn't need to, there are much better IM apps available since a long time.

14. Vancetastic

Posts: 1699; Member since: May 17, 2017

I don't know...there still doesn't seem to be end to end encryption.

15. bucknassty

Posts: 1365; Member since: Mar 24, 2017

needs to happen within 3 months

3. WieXXX

Posts: 24; Member since: Feb 03, 2019

I own an iPhone, but I still prefer whatsapp over iMessage because WA has more features than iMessage.

4. Vokilam

Posts: 1344; Member since: Mar 15, 2018

What features do you like in WhatsApp that iMessage doesn’t have?

10. sun0066

Posts: 282; Member since: Feb 12, 2011

WhatsApp is more universal and do not assign an specific color because you have an specific OS ,more reliable too , I have both android and iPhone and I have imessages disable, I had lost some messages when I have imessages enabled

19. Vokilam

Posts: 1344; Member since: Mar 15, 2018

It you have to tell everyone to install it and crate an account. just like every other third party app. Maybe in your area everyone uses third party apps, but where I live I can either use iMessage or just text you regularly - whether you have iMessage or not. Plus they all cluttered as hell with advertising to boot.

6. saddameu

Posts: 28; Member since: Mar 26, 2017

bruh..you have to be dumb to see they just made this because they can't spy everyone as a lot are using encrypted apps. They do this so you can use their app and continue to spy on you. How isnt this so obvious ? This is just part of a surveillance program.

9. tbreezy

Posts: 117; Member since: Aug 11, 2019

Considering the fact that Android is a spying and ad tool anyway, why not just integrate WhatsApp as the main Messenger anyway.

11. yalokiy

Posts: 1077; Member since: Aug 01, 2016

It only belongs to Facebook, but they want it to be a la SMS, so that every carrier could read your messages.

8. yalokiy

Posts: 1077; Member since: Aug 01, 2016

All these RCS efforts are like trying to bring to life a dear horse. RCS is inferior to messangers like telegram, signal, wire. We don't need SMS 2.0.

13. TBomb

Posts: 1632; Member since: Dec 28, 2012

Most likely going to be a carrier made app that they control. And if history has taught me anything, it's carriers suck at almost everything they do. So I will be passing on this CCMI phase.

16. middlehead

Posts: 462; Member since: May 12, 2014

It's exactly that. Droid Life has an updated article with statements from one of the company's reps. It's going to be a dedicated app that they're going to monetize the hell out of. This is not a good thing.

17. darkkjedii

Posts: 31529; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Can't wait to try it on my Note 10+

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