When Google earlier this year detailed that its future consumer messaging effort would be centered around RCS and Messages, AT&T and Verizon also signaled that it would adopt the Universal Profile. The latter carrier might be launching support early next year.
At a Business Messaging conference this week, Verizon SVP of consumer products Aparna Khurjekar told the crowd that RCS is launching in early 2019. The GSMA standards body responsible later noted to The Verge that Verizon’s RCS will support Universal Profile 1.0.
The adoption of this standard is important for ensuring carrier interoperability of the advanced features allowed by RCS. For example, Verizon’s Messages+ already supports features like typing indicators and delivery/read receipts in communiques sent to and from subscribers on the network.
To create a true SMS replacement, carriers around the world need to adopt the same standard. The standard would allow subscribers to use Google’s default RCS client on Android. Messages in recent weeks has added a number of features including the Google Material Theme and a dark mode. Additionally, Google has noted future Assistant and possible Photos integration.
Other RCS features include higher-resolution photos, videos, and GIFs thanks to a cloud backend and better group chats. Meanwhile, Business Messaging allows for companies to send rich cards. For example, an airline can send a boarding ticket that features updating departure times.
However, Verizon today is not confirming that next year’s launch of RCS will be based on Universal Profile 1.0, nor have they specified an exact time frame for availability. However, the nature of the announcement itself strongly suggests it will be standards based.
According to The Verge, AT&T has yet to provide an update, with the carrier also already featuring RCS features in its first-party messaging app for subscribers.