Light Reading

Sprint Plots RCS-Laden Path to VoLTE

Sarah Thomas
10/15/2013
50%
50%

Sprint is working its way toward building an all-IP messaging portal alongside voice-over LTE (VoLTE), and it sees offering rich communication services (RCS) as the first step in that direction.

Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) hasn't announced exactly when it will deploy VoLTE, but Wayne Ward, the carrier's vice president of business and product development, describes the carrier's partnership with Jibe Mobile to offer a white labeled over-the-top (OTT) messaging and video app as phase one in its move to an all-IP messaging portal. What the next couple of phases entail isn't exactly clear either, but the end goal is a VoLTE service that includes voice and data on a single platform. (See Sprint Jibes With OTT Comms.) Wayne told us:

As we roll out LTE and VoLTE becomes the platform underneath IP messaging, this will be the same basic experience we'll need for an IP core for VoLTE. It's an over-the-top, cloud-based client on the phone, not pure IP messaging, but the user experience and attributes will be similar to it. This is step one and complementary and feeding into our VoLTE strategy.

Sprint plans to "bootstrap" the Jibe app, rebranded Messaging Plus, on future devices beginning in the fourth quarter. Right now Wayne says it's only a marketing and distribution partnership, but he didn't rule out offering quality of service for the app in the future. Sprint's aim is just to get it in customer hands, find out what works, and add services as they go.

That includes not just adding services to the Jibe tie-up but potentially adding new OTT options as well. If the right provider and the right deal came along, Sprint might even be open to acquiring an innovative OTT app, Wayne says, but not without adding that it's had its hands full with network-related acquisitions of late. (See Sprint Axes More Clearwire Employees and Softbank Closes on Sprint Acquisition.)

Sprint is also mulling building its own internal RCS-style apps, and it's still supporting its Google Voice partnership, which lets its customers use their mobile phone numbers as their Google Voice digits. (See CTIA 2011: Sprint's Google Voice Gamble.)

"Right now, we're committed to Jibe for our phase one RCS deployment," Wayne says. "We'll make decisions around the roadmap we deploy for our IMS and IP messaging core -- if we continue to use a partner like Jibe or internalize apps, a roadmap is still under development for the future."

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

(7)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
MordyK
50%
50%
MordyK,
User Rank: Light Sabre
10/15/2013 | 12:54:12 PM
Re: RCS's Relevance
To date that hasn't stopped alternative voice providers such as Skype from taking international long distance revenue whenever it was possible and artificial barriers weren't  put up ,nor has it stopped straight messaging from being invaded first by BBM and later KIK, Whatsapp and ofcourse Apple's iMessage and Google's Hangouts.

The only real market I can see is for enterprises when combined with a PBX system, but even they are becoming increasingly price sensitive.
SarahReedy
50%
50%
SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
10/15/2013 | 12:33:54 PM
Re: RCS's Relevance
People probably care less about quality when a service is free, but I think it does matter for voice calls and, especially video calls. Not that cellular calls are that great, but some of my experiences with Skype and other services have been less than ideal. If all the features are essentially the same, how does any player differentiate? Ubiquity and simplicity are really all that matter.
MordyK
50%
50%
MordyK,
User Rank: Light Sabre
10/15/2013 | 11:50:39 AM
Re: RCS's Relevance
That's an interesting operator spin that suits their narrative, but I would look for neutral 3rd party data that corroborates the claim that QoS is a real issue for OTT customers.

If it's simply spinning a yarn, the only ones that lose are the carrier's as they invest big on a distraction to little gain. They might be better off ignoring RCS and investing it in more realistic and promising opportunities.

If they don't know what they are have them call me anytime :)
SarahReedy
50%
50%
SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
10/15/2013 | 11:40:05 AM
Re: RCS's Relevance
Good points, Mordy. I shall raise them today on my panel with AT&T, T-Mobile and Comast. :)

Another way it could change the dynamic -- and this might not work in operators' favor -- is that it evens the playing field with quality. Operators have dismissed OTT as unreliable compared to the PSTN, but we'll be able to see how the various services fare on the same network. The operators will have to do more to set their service apart.
MordyK
50%
50%
MordyK,
User Rank: Light Sabre
10/15/2013 | 10:59:04 AM
Re: RCS's Relevance
While LTE changes alot of things, I question how much i changes the carrier/OTT dynamic. The time to market from feature recognition to actual deployment over an individual or multiple carrier's will always be significantly longer than for an OTT app such as Whatsapp, and the customers that will lead the charge in using these services are doing that over OTT.

As you well know I recognize the value of carrier ubiquity but that value shrinks when it moves beyond simply products to those more advances functionalities, as those users are pretty much all going OTT. Kinda reminds me of my early Skype years when all the people I needed Skype to communicate also had the need and largely signed up within 6 months.
SarahReedy
50%
50%
SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
10/15/2013 | 10:45:08 AM
Re: RCS's Relevance
i think that's a fair question, Mordy. They are responding the meteoric rise of OTT, but then, it's already risen! The dynamics will change a bit on LTE, however, when everything is IP based and VoLTE services become richer.
MordyK
50%
50%
MordyK,
User Rank: Light Sabre
10/15/2013 | 8:56:31 AM
RCS's Relevance
I wonder if this is too little too late, as customers are now used to going OTT for their messaging needs and carriers will always be a step behind OTT apps in terms of innovative functionality. I understand why Sprint is only entering the foray now,so this is no reflection on them per-se, but at the end of the day the reason for this delayed entry and the carrier's lack of required relevance may be too much to overcome.
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
Flash Poll
From The Founder
The New IP is actually bigger even than business. Like another hugely important tech that Light Reading is digging into right now, the New IP has the potential to change the world by fundamentally advancing what it is possible for people to achieve with communications.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Power of Five Convergences in OceanStor OS

3|4|15   |   6:24   |   (0) comments


OceanStor OS is Huawei's brand-new storage operating system. While inheriting the consistent high stability, reliability and performance from the company's previous storage products, OceanStor OS abounds in new converged storage features. Specifically, the new storage operating system achieves "five convergences" to lift storage convergence to a higher level.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
4K Brings Extreme Video Experience

3|4|15   |   8:10   |   (0) comments


4K video is a hot topic in the video industry. It will certainly bring an extreme video experience to end users. At the same time, however, it will also pose a big challenge to operators. Check out this Huawei 4K experts' discussion about how operators can achieve success in 4K video service.
LRTV Interviews
DT's Virtualization Vision for Europe

3|4|15   |   10:23   |   (0) comments


Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders talks virtualization, cloudification and standards with Deutsche Telekom's Axel Clauberg at Mobile World Congress.
LRTV Custom TV
ZTE's Wireline at MWC 2015

3|4|15   |   6:35   |   (0) comments


Light Reading speaks with Jane Chen, ZTE's Senior VP of Wireline Business, about innovations in her product line at Mobile World Congress.
LRTV Custom TV
ZTE at MWC 2015

3|4|15   |   4:24   |   (0) comments


Dr. Dick Chen of ZTE USA gives Light Reading an overview of what's new at ZTE's pavilion at Mobile World Congress 2015.
LRTV Interviews
Ericsson CEO Talks Telco Data Center Tech

3|4|15   |   05:45   |   (0) comments


At Mobile World Congress, Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg discusses telco data center technology, business models, small cells and more.
Between the CEOs
EXCLUSIVE: Cisco's Chambers on Reinvention

3|3|15   |   8:24   |   (1) comment


Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders talks transformation and virtualization – including Light Reading's independent testing of the vendor's virtualization solutions – with Cisco CEO John Chambers at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
LRTV Documentaries
The Three Cs of MWC15

3|2|15   |   2:33   |   (1) comment


My visit to this year's Mobile World Congress is going to dominated by three Cs – cloud, cells and coffee.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Shares Its Vision of the Future of Mobile Networks Innovations

2|26|15   |   2:30   |   (0) comments


Mobile broadband is changing our lives. It's reshaping the Internet, industry, and society. It allows us to freely connect with one another anytime, anywhere. At this year's Mobile World Congress, Huawei will share its latest insights and newest ideas and technologies that will shape the future of MBB. They will showcase their end-to-end MBB solutions that will ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Accelerate Digitizing, Boost Digital Business

2|26|15   |   6:14   |   (0) comments


A new digital revolution is leading us to a better connected world. Together with millions of digital partners, Huawei will help CSPs to build their digital service ecosystem and aggregate a wide variety of digital services. In this video, we find out how Huawei is going to help CSPs implement digital operations.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Secret Recipe to Enabling Hyper-Growth Industries

2|26|15   |   3:38   |   (0) comments


With a number of successful cases on network capability exposure, Huawei is going to share the secret recipe to enabling hyper-growth markets with a step-by-step approach.
LRTV Documentaries
BTE 2015 Is Bigger & Even Better

2|25|15   |   03:13   |   (4) comments


This year's Big Telecom Event (BTE) in Chicago is going to provide more opportunities than ever for networking, getting to grips with key industry challenges and opportunities and, equally as important, having some fun.
Upcoming Live Events
March 17, 2015, The Cable Center, Denver, CO
April 14, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City, NY
May 12, 2015, Grand Hyatt, Denver, CO
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 10, 2015, Chicago, IL
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Net neutrality, broadband services and the current outlook on data consumption, as presented by the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
Hot Topics
Internet Pioneers Decry Title II Rules
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 3/2/2015
Wheeler: We'll Enforce Title II 'Case-By-Case'
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 3/3/2015
Verizon Takes Radio Dot to Detroit, VoLTE Overseas
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 2/27/2015
FCC Adopts Title II Rules
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 2/26/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Check out Light Reading's interview with Jay Samit, the newly appointed CEO of publicly traded SeaChange International Inc. With a resume that includes Sony, EMI, and Universal, Samit brings a reputation as an entrepreneur and a disruptor to his new role at the video solutions company. Hear what he had to say about the opportunities in video, as well as the outlook for cable, telco, OTT and mobile service providers.