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T-Mobile Adds Video Calling to RCS Line UpT-Mobile Adds Video Calling to RCS Line Up

Carrier has added video calling to its RCS suite, including LTE to WiFi handoff, on compatible handsets.

Sarah Thomas

September 3, 2015

3 Min Read
T-Mobile Adds Video Calling to RCS Line Up

Building on its launch of Rich Communications Services (RCS)-powered messaging in July, T-Mobile has now added video calling to the mix.

Video calls over T-Mobile US Inc. 's LTE network will work directly from the phone's native dialer via an icon next to the voice call button. It will only show up next to contacts with devices that can support video calling, which at launch includes four Samsung Corp. smartphones. T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray writes in a blog post that the carrier will support seven devices by the end of the year. Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) may reveal whether it will support it in the next iPhone at its launch event on Wednesday.

Notably, T-Mobile video calling will include handoff between WiFi and LTE. Ray says that if a video call moves off of LTE or WiFi to a slower connection, the video will seamlessly switch over to a voice call with the option to click back to video when high-speed connectivity is restored. The video calls will count against a user's data bucket.

Ray says that T-Mobile is working with others to eventually support video calling across networks. Verizon Wireless also offers native video calling, but -- as with voice-over LTE (VoLTE) -- the services won't interoperate until the carriers work out interoperability deals. (See Verizon to Launch HD VoLTE in 'Coming Weeks'.)

Figure 1: Video Calling in Action T-Mobile's video calling works directly from the dialer and supports handoff between WiFi and LTE. T-Mobile's video calling works directly from the dialer and
supports handoff between WiFi and LTE.

T-Mobile was the first carrier to support RCS in the form of IP text messages direct from the native dialer. (Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) offers an RCS-compatible mobile app.) And it's making good on its promise to keep adding RCS-powered services its arsenal. These over-the-top (OTT)-like services will get more valuable as more carriers and handsets support them. (See T-Mobile Launches RCS Messaging and Sprint Jibes With OTT Comms.)

For more on RCS, visit the dedicated VoLTE/rich communications section
right here on Light Reading. T-Mobile's RCS is powered by Mavenir, which was recently acquired by unified communications provider Mitel Networks Corp. Rich McBee, Mitel's CEO, recently told Light Reading that he expects other carriers to launch RCS in the next year as they complete their VoLTE network deployments. Both technologies are enabled by the New IP and an IMS core. (See Mavenir, T-Mobile Confirm US RCS Launches and Mitel to Acquire Mavenir for $560M.) "The reality is RCS is the way the carriers can maintain relevance in their space, because [OTTs] will use their pipes anyway," McBee says, adding, "The IP network will give them the ability to get in and out of things that work and test things and create relevancy for them in a market with a lot of competition." — Sarah Thomas, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, Editorial Operations Director, Light Reading

About the Author(s)

Sarah Thomas

Director, Women in Comms

Sarah Thomas's love affair with communications began in 2003 when she bought her first cellphone, a pink RAZR, which she duly "bedazzled" with the help of superglue and her dad.

She joined the editorial staff at Light Reading in 2010 and has been covering mobile technologies ever since. Sarah got her start covering telecom in 2007 at Telephony, later Connected Planet, may it rest in peace. Her non-telecom work experience includes a brief foray into public relations at Fleishman-Hillard (her cussin' upset the clients) and a hodge-podge of internships, including spells at Ingram's (Kansas City's business magazine), American Spa magazine (where she was Chief Hot-Tub Correspondent), and the tweens' quiz bible, QuizFest, in NYC.

As Editorial Operations Director, a role she took on in January 2015, Sarah is responsible for the day-to-day management of the non-news content elements on Light Reading.

Sarah received her Bachelor's in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She lives in Chicago with her 3DTV, her iPad and a drawer full of smartphone cords.

Away from the world of telecom journalism, Sarah likes to dabble in monster truck racing, becoming part of Team Bigfoot in 2009.

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