RCS is not dead, but joint efforts to further spread it in the US have reportedly been killed. According to a report by Easy readingThe Cross Carrier Messaging Initiative (CCMI) is no longer active after having produced nothing useful in the past year.
CCMI was the joint effort of T-Mobile, Verizon and AT&T to bring RCS off the ground with a messaging app that works seamlessly between the various networks. The initiative was started in seeming contradiction to Google’s efforts to promote RCS on Android with one of the best text messaging apps. The airlines planned to produce something in 2020, but as we can see it never materialized.
The people at Easy reading spoke to Synchronoss Technologies, the company responsible for developing the application, though it received a vague response that it would continue to work on bringing RCS to the US. However, Verizon was more open about the situation:
The owners of the Cross Carrier Messaging Initiative decided to end the joint venture effort. However, the owners continue to strive to improve the messaging experience for customers, including increasing the availability of RCS.
Right now, RCS messaging support in the US is still a mess as carriers largely support their own versions of the system that don’t communicate with each other. T-Mobile has actively supported Google’s RCS standard, particularly with the recent announcement that the messaging service will be rolled out to all devices using the Google Messages app. However, the death of CCMI doesn’t necessarily bode well for other airlines’ plans to support the Google standard, or it could signal the possible move to the same RCS standard.
Instead of investing time and effort in a futile endeavor, it would of course have been easy enough for other network operators to access Google Messages as well. In the long run, it might even be less work for them. Until then, anyone using even the best of cheap Android phones can download Google Messages for RCS features like tap indicators and high quality media. Fortunately, there are many smartphones like the Google Pixel 5 that come pre-installed with the app.