China Mobile is launching a suite of Rich Communication Services (RCS) across the country from 1st December, placing it in direct competition with messaging firm Tencent.
The operator will provide enhanced messaging services under its new 4G+Smart brand. Based on GSMA RCS standards, the services will enable users to chat as well as share files and high resolution images. Such features are already available in China via other OTT applications, but China Mobile has the advantage of being able to deliver the services to its 885 million users without requiring them to download an app.
The RCS features will be made available via compatible handsets, which include the Samsung S8 and Huawei Mate 10. In addition, enterprise customers will be able to access similar features by downloading its And Fei Xin app.
When China Mobile announced its RCS offering at its Global Partners Conference in Guangzhou, the GSMA was quick to declare it a “huge boost” for the technology, saying “momentum for RCS is growing around the world. There are currently 50 launched networks and over 157 million active monthly users. The potential for continued growth is also huge.”
The RCS suite will see China Mobile facing off against Tencent’s popular messaging app WeChat, which has over 960 million users. Globally, other players using similar technology include AT&T, Orange, Vodafone Group and Deutsche Telekom.