The Cross Carrier Messaging Initiative (CCMI): What It Means for Enterprise Brands and the RCS Ecosystem

By: 3C The Messenger – October 30, 2019

On October 24, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon issued a press release announcing the creation of a joint venture called the Cross Carrier Messaging Initiative (“CCMI”) to accelerate the adoption of RCS and deliver the next generation of carrier messaging.

As global advocates bringing RCS Business Messaging mainstream over the last few years, we’ve been fully invested in the success of RCS. We believe RCS strengthens the messaging experience between enterprise brands and their customers and we’re excited to see the major carriers in the US pushing RCS forward together.

So, what does this announcement mean for the RCS ecosystem?

The CCMI joint venture is great for the US mobile industry, as it removes interoperability issues that currently plague RCS adoption. It helps to lower the barrier for brands to enter the RCS ecosystem and streamlines the deployment process through a single entity.

In May 2018, we saw this same model successfully applied in Japan, when the top three Japanese carriers (KDDI, DoCoMo and SoftBank) teamed up to launch a unified messaging service, “+ message”, that solved interoperability issues with RCS and enabled advanced messaging across the country through the GSMA’s Universal Profile specs. That was a great use case on cross-carrier cooperation in order to boost adoption of advanced messaging, and we’re excited to see these carriers apply the success of that model here in the US.

What benefits can enterprise brands expect to see as a result of the CCMI?

We’re always talking about the benefits that RCS as a technology opens up to brands: a richer messaging experience, more user engagement and interactivity, unlimited message characters, etc. But this initiative really benefits brands first and foremost in terms of reach, as one of the goals for the CCMI is the acceleration of RCS user adoption and providing a unified solution for sender and message verification. This venture streamlines the deployment process for brands and simplifies the path to launching a program on a carrier-grade secure channel and adds the ability to better control spam.

Brands have found success with the RCS chatbot directory with AT&T and Samsung and, while plans for a joint brand chatbot directory haven’t been announced yet, we would hope that the CCMI would adopt the RCS directory approach to enable brand discoverability and consumer-initiated chats regardless of the client used on the device delivering a seamless experience for users to talk with the brands of choice.

When can brands expect to see a wider audience for RCS?

The carriers say 2020. The number of RCS-enabled devices has been steadily growing in the US and that trajectory is expected to continue. Through our RCS engagement platform, we are already connected to these major US networks, and we expect the CCMI to give a healthy boost to the number of available RCS users over the next 12 months.

How is Google involved in the CCMI?

While Google isn’t a member of the CCMI, it is still an essential part of the RCS ecosystem by providing service to Sprint and other global carriers, as well as through the introduction of Google Guest earlier this year. As a provider of a popular messaging client that is installed on more than 500 million Android devices globally, the CCMI will interact with Google for cooperation on client-side implementations, and also as the hub to reach users on the Google-hosted platform for carriers using their platform globally.

Has Apple joined?

While Apple has yet to make any announcements in regards to their position on RCS, this investment by the carriers hopefully sends a message that the US ecosystem is ready for RCS.

So what?

There’s no question that this is great news for RCS rollout in the US. The announcement of the CCMI means easier and faster launches for RCS Business Messaging programs, more interoperability between carriers, a better user experience for consumers for both P2P communication and for Business Messaging, and a boost in monthly RCS users. While it lags behind early predictions for RCS growth, 2020 is shaping up to finally be the year RCS takes center stage and lives up to its potential as the next generation messaging channel for brands and consumers.


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