Rich Communication Services is a communication protocol between mobile telephone carriers and between phone and carrier, aiming at replacing SMS messages with a text-message system that is more rich, provide phonebook polling (for service discovery), and transmit in-call multimedia.
It is marketed under the names Revision Control System (RCS), Advanced Messaging, Advanced Communications and Message service.
The Rich Communication Suite (RCS) industry initiative was formed by a group of industry promoters in 2007. In February 2008 the GSM Association officially became the project ‘home’ of RCS and an RCS steering committee was established by the organisation.
The scope of the steering committee’s work was to entail the definition, testing, and integration of the services in the application suite known as RCS. Three years later, the RCS project released a new specification, which included various iterations of the original RCS specifications. The GSMA program is now called Rich Communication Services.
The GSMA published the Universal Profile in November 2016. The Universal Profile is a globally agreed, single GSMA specification for advanced communications. Carriers that deploy the Universal Profile guarantee interconnection with other carriers. 47 mobile network operators, 11 manufacturers, and 2 OS providers (Google and Microsoft) have announced their support. Google’s Jibe Cloud platform is an implementation of the RCS Universal Profile, designed to help carriers launch RCS quickly and scale easily. Google supports RCS on Android devices with the Android Messages app. The Jibe RCS cloud service partners with Sprint, Rogers, Telenor, and Vodafone; Orange, Deutsche Telekom, and Globe are committed to the service
RCS combines different services defined by 3GPP and Open Mobile Alliance (OMA) with an enhanced phonebook. Another phone’s capabilities and presence information can be discovered and displayed by a mobile phone. RCS reuses 3GPP specified IMS core system as the underlying service platform taking care of issues such as authentication, authorization, registration, charging and routing.
Universal Profile RCS has had one release, and currently has one scheduled:
Release 1 (November 2016)
Includes core features such as capability discovery which will be interoperable between regions, chat, group chat, file transfer, audio messaging, video share, multi-device, enriched calling, location share and live sketching.
Release 2 (July 2017)
Includes Messaging as a Platform, APIs, plug-in integration and improved authentication and app security.
Prior to Universal Profile, five releases of the RCS specifications were made. Each release expanded the scope of its predecessor.
Offered the first definitions for the enrichment of voice and chat with content sharing, driven from an RCS enhanced address book.
Added broadband access to RCS features: enhancing the messaging and enabling sharing of files.
Focused on the broadband device as a primary device.
Included support for LTE.
Global interoperability is a key aspect of these specifications.
The following standardized services are a part of the specifications of RCS:
Social Presence Information
IP Voice call
Best Effort Video call
Network based blacklist
Capability Exchange based on Presence or SIP OPTIONS
The GSMA defined a series of specific implementations of the RCS specifications. The RCS specifications often define a number of options for implementing individual communications features, resulting in challenges in delivering interoperable services between carriers. The RCS specifications aim to define a more specific implementation that promote standardization and simplify interconnection between carriers.
At this time there are two major relevant releases:- joyn Hot Fixes – based upon the RCS 1.2.2 specification (previously known as RCS-e), this includes 1:1 chat, group chat, MSRP file sharing and video sharing (during a circuit switched call). Services based upon this specification are live in Spain, France and Germany.
joyn Blackbird Drop 1 – based upon the RCS 5.1 specification, this extends the joyn Hot Fixes service to include HTTP file sharing, location sharing, group file sharing, and other capabilities such as group chat store and forward. joyn Blackbird Drop 1 is backward compatible with joyn Hot Fixes. Vodafone Spain’s network is accredited for joyn Blackbird Drop 1, and Telefónica and Orange Spain have also been involved in interoperability testing with vendors of joyn Blackbird Drop 1 clients. A number of client vendors are accredited to joyn Blackbird Drop 1.
Two or more future releases are planned-joyn Blackbird Drop 2 – also based upon the RCS 5.1 specification, this will primarily add IP voice and video calling. The test cases for joyn Blackbird Drop 2 have yet to be released by the GSMA. joyn Crane – Already available in GSMA web pag