The four major wireless carriers have formed a joint venture to be known as the Cross Carrier Messaging Initiative, or CCMI, to provide what they characterize as a next-generation messaging service.
The Cross Carrier Messaging Initiative (CCMI) from AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon, aims to increase the ways in which consumers interact with businesses. It will be a standards-based and interoperable messaging service that is built upon GSMA’s Rich Communication Service (RCS). A version for Android is expected next year.
The CCMI has four overall goals:
- Create a business-to-consumer messaging ecosystem and accelerate the adoption of Rich Communications Services (RCS);
- Enable an enhanced experience to privately send individual or group chats across carriers with high quality pictures and videos;
- Provide consumers with the ability to interact with businesses;
- Create a single seamless, interoperable RCS experience across carriers worldwide.
The idea clearly is to expand the boundaries of texting beyond the basic utilitarian messaging function in which the industry has excelled to date. Android-based messaging has lagged behind Apple’s iMessage platform, and this initiative is seen as helping to address that.
“People love text messaging for a reason,” David Christopher, executive vice president and general manager, AT&T Mobility, said in the press release. “Texting is trusted, reliable and readily available—which is why we’re using it to build the foundation of a simple, immersive messaging experience. This service will power new and innovative ways for customers to engage with each other and their favorite brands.”
The consortium tacitly acknowledged that the announcement was short on specifics by saying that more details will be released in the future.
Texting is a bedrock element of modern communications. In July 2018, the CTIA’s “The State of Wireless 2018” report estimated that 1.5 trillion texts were sent in 2017.