iPhone users have long-enjoyed iMessage, an iOS-only alternative to SMS that has far more features than basic messaging. WhatsApp offers a similar approach, adding features and abilities in a cross-platform app.
Today the four major wireless carriers announced the Cross-Carrier Messaging Initiative (CCMI), aimed at delivering iMessage or WhatsApp-like messaging to customers and businesses alike. The service will be based on the Rich Communication Services (RCS) protocol.
The goal is to roll out the service to Android first, sometime in 2020. The CCMI service will:
- Drive a robust business-to-consumer messaging ecosystem and accelerate the adoption of Rich Communications Services (RCS)
- Enable an enhanced experience to privately send individual or group chats across carriers with high quality pictures and videos
- Provide consumers with the ability to chat with their favorite brands, order a rideshare, pay bills or schedule appointments, and more
- Create a single seamless, interoperable RCS experience across carriers, both in the U.S. and globally
“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,” said David Christopher, executive vice president and general manager, AT&T Mobility. “This service will power new and innovative ways for customers to engage with each other and their favorite brands.”
“The CCMI will bring a consistent, engaging experience that makes it easy for consumers and businesses to interact in an environment they can trust,” said Michel Combes, President & CEO of Sprint. “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.”
“At the Un-carrier, customers drive everything we do, and that’s no different here,” said John Legere, CEO of T-Mobile. “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.”
“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,” said Ronan Dunne, CEO of Verizon Consumer Group. “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.”
With all four of the major carriers on board, the CCMI will hopefully usher in the next generation of messaging, bringing welcome improvements to one of the most heavily used phone services.