AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon have ended the Cross Carrier Messaging Initiative (CCMI), the joint venture they founded in 2019 to drive RCS text messaging, according to Cross Reading. Verizon (the owner of Engadget’s parent company) told the release: “[t]The owners of the Cross Carrier Messaging Initiative have decided to end the joint venture. The spokesperson added that the owners “continue to strive to improve the messaging experience for customers, including increasing the availability of RCS”.
The carriers, including Sprint before it merged with T-Mobile, formed the CCMI to create a unified RCS experience for all carriers. RCS is designed to replace the SMS protocol and give users access to iMessage and WhatsApp-like features. Companies should create a new app that would work for Android users on their networks, but they made little progress on their plans.
T-Mobile has made progress in implementing RCS by working with Google to make the service available to all subscribers. And just last month, the wireless service provider made Google Messages its default SMS app. While AT&T and Verizon’s plans are currently unclear, Google has expanded the availability of the RCS protocol worldwide. Since November last year, the global rollout of RCS has been completed, so anyone with an Android phone that has Google Messages can use it. End-to-end encryption testing for more secure conversations has also begun.