BARCELONA, Spain, Feb. 27, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Mobile World Congress -- The GSMA today announced significant advancements in Rich Communications, including updates on launches by mobile network operators, device availability, a new global specification and the creation of a new consumer facing-brand, joyn™. Rich Communications will enable mobile network operators (MNOs) to provide consumers with familiar services such as enhanced messaging and voice, as well as new services like video calling and the ability to share documents and photos simultaneously during calls, all from the phone's contact book, regardless of the network or device used.
"There is clear consumer demand for enriched messaging and voice services, and Rich Communications provides mobile network operators with solutions to address these consumer needs, as well as paving the way for future, innovative IP-based voice and messaging services," said Anne Bouverot, Director General, GSMA. "These services will be delivered to consumers in a seamless way and with the level of innovation, quality of service and attention to privacy that they have come to expect from their mobile operator."
Launch of Commercial Services
Rich Communication Services (RCS), which provide MNOs with a means of transitioning voice and messaging services into an all-IP and LTE world, has gathered significant pace in America, Asia and Europe. Carriers from the around the globe supporting the RCS standard include AT&T, Bell Mobility, Bharti Airtel, Deutsche Telekom, KPN, KT, LGU+, Orange, Orascom Telecom, Rogers Communications, SFR, SK Telecom, Telecom Italia, Telefonica, TeliaSonera, Telus, Verizon and Vodafone.
"We at Deutsche Telekom are very pleased and committed to support Rich Communications. As it is the natural evolution of our core communication services, voice and messaging, this new standard has already been embraced by the leading carriers and manufacturers in our industry," said Rene Obermann, CEO Deutsche Telekom. "Since Rich Communications will be fully integrated in devices, there is no need for our customers to download or install anything. Ease of use is thus ensured and it will just work. We are looking forward to offer new services like text chat, file and live video sharing during a call to our customers soon."
Earlier this year, the three major Spanish MNOs, Orange, Telefonica and Vodafone, published an update on their interoperability trials which form an important part of the preparations for a launch of commercial services, anticipated by the summer of 2012. In addition to the progress in Spain, operators in France, Germany, Italy and Korea have committed to commercial launches in 2012.
"Orange sees tremendous potential for RCS to deliver a truly compelling customer experience through easy-to-use, integrated communication solutions and we are delighted to be part of the increased momentum in the industry to deliver them. To this end, we are committed to accelerating the roll-out of RCS, beginning with Spain in Q2 2012 and France in H2 2012," said Jean-Paul Cottet, Executive Vice President, Marketing, Innovation and New Growth Activities, Orange.
Top Device Makers Support Rich Communications
Device availability is key to the acceleration of the adoption of Rich Communications and top handset makers including HTC, Huawei, LG, Nokia, Research In Motion, Samsung, Sony, and ZTE have announced support of Rich Communications in their handsets, many of which will be on display at Mobile World Congress. Infrastructure vendors including Acme Packet, Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, Huawei, Mavenir and Nokia Siemens Networks also support RCS and will be showcasing their latest Rich Communications solutions at Mobile World Congress. Rich Communications will be available on new devices and as a downloadable app for legacy devices and will be on show on these vendors' stands as well as the GSMA Pavilion in Hall 8, Stand C118.
Introduction of a Global Specification
A new global specification has been developed and will represent the interests of a wide range of operators. RCS 5.0 will ensure that voice, messaging, and all future communication services continue to be available on both existing and all-IP LTE networks. The specification will support services across mobile and fixed networks and includes such features as high quality IP-based voice and video calling; geo-location, where a user can push accurate location information to others on the call; cloud storage for customers to store all messages for secure access from any connected device; and live video in IM chat, in which video share can be introduced during an IM chat session.
"RCS 5.0 will not only provide our customers the services they've come to expect - like voice and texting - but will bring new services like live video calling and the ability to share documents and photos simultaneously during calls, regardless of the network or device used," said Kris Rinne, Senior Vice President of Architecture and Planning, AT&T. "We look forward to further interoperability testing within the carrier community as we move towards commercial readiness"
Introducing joyn – The Consumer Focus
In order to facilitate consumer recognition and understanding of RCS, a consumer-facing brand has been developed. The GSMA today launched the new brand, joyn, which represents ubiquity, security, service quality and interconnection and will be available for operators to use in order to give one global 'face' to RCS services. Through the joyn brand users will know that the device is RCS enabled , which means it automatically 'knows and shows' ways to share with contacts via chat, video, call or files, at any moment in time.
"joyn will act as a mark of assurance to customers that they will have simple and direct access to enriched voice and messaging services wherever they are and whatever network they are using," continued Bouverot. "Our key message is: 'it's just there, it just works.' "
Interoperability will be ensured by an extensive and continuous testing process which has been developed by the GSMA, and supported by leading MNOs, infrastructure manufacturers, device manufacturers and application developers. Devices, networks and services will have to complete the interoperability testing and pass a certification process in order to use the joyn brand; this process that further underpins the assurance of the quality, security and ubiquity of the services customers will use.
Visitors to Mobile World Congress in Barcelona will be the first to experience joyn for themselves. Downloadable joyn apps for Android 2.3 devices will be available as part of extensive trials live at MWC. Users who are customers on Vodafone's Spanish network will be able to download an app from the Android Market free of charge. Those registered with Telefonica will be able to do so shortly afterwards. Feedback from users will help operators fine-tune services for commercial launches, anticipated by the summer from all three major Spanish operators. iOS apps and native devices with joyn built in will follow in the coming months.
Notes to the Editor:
RCS 5.0 is the latest in a series of specification releases for Rich Communication Services developed by the GSMA. As with all previous specifications, it will be subject to a period of public scrutiny and peer review before the final version is published. Rich Communication Services launched in 2012 by operators under the consumer facing brand joyn™ will be built to the RCS-e specification that was announced in 2011. RCS 5.0 will benefit from the same principles of evolution and compatibility that have been applied previously.
About the GSMA
The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide. Spanning more than 220 countries, the GSMA unites nearly 800 of the world's mobile operators, as well as more than 200 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset makers, software companies, equipment providers, Internet companies, and media and entertainment organisations. The GSMA also produces industry-leading events such as the Mobile World Congress and Mobile Asia Expo.
joyn is a certification trade mark of the GSMA