Google has pushed Rich Communications Services (RCS) messaging, which they claim is a superior alternative to SMS, in Android phones in the UK and France. But only 43 mobile operators, out of around 850 globally, are working with the company. RCS messaging in the two European countries and the company wants to bring ‘broad availability’ to all Android users by the end of 2020. Mobile market research company, Mobilesquared, has estimated more than a billion monthly active users of RCS messaging by the end of 2019.
Phone carriers don’t like it because it requires investment to redesign technical systems – right at a time when large amounts are being plowed into preparing carriers for 5G. The most in-depth upgrade to RCS systems can cost phone operators millions, especially at a time when SMS messaging is still sufficient for many, or they just use third-party services like WhatsApp.