MetroPCS Intros Video Chat With RCS 5.0

CHICAGO -- 4G World 2012 -- MetroPCS Inc. (NYSE: PCS) claims it is the first operator in the world to introduce services, including video chat, using the RCS 5.0 specification.

The services can be used by 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) customers that have the Samsung Corp. Attain 4G smartphone.

Rich Communication Suite (RCS) specifications make use of IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) capabilities to enable video, audio and other applications. RCS is the standard that allows operators to develop and deliver services that rival the over-the-top (OTT) multimedia applications that ride over their networks.

The MetroPCS service will be initially be available under the joyn brand as a downloadable application for the Samsung Attain device. Solyman Ashrafi, VP of product management at MetroPCS, says the operator will start by offering several voice, video and presence services using RCS capabilities.

These will include:

  • Video and image sharing while on a call
  • Presence contact details on the phone, including real-time status settings such as "available," "unavailable" and "in a meeting"
  • Video chat and Wi-Fi calling
  • "Enriched chat," including the ability to determine which groups are available to chat

"I think video chat will be very popular," says Ashrafi, who picked out presence as a key feature enabled by the Samsung device.

Some European carriers are already working on RCS-e specification implementations on 3G. You can see this promo on RCS in Europe posted by Jonathon Marchant below:

Ashrafi says RCS version 5.0 is a step ahead of current implementations, stating that it offers capabilities "beyond what is offered in Europe as RCS-e."

He adds that work on the newer specification is "really a collaboration between the North American and European carriers."

Earlier this week, Telstra Corp. Ltd. (ASX: TLS; NZK: TLS)'s executive director of networks and access technologies, Mike Wright, chided the industry for not moving forward fast enough with the standards. (See 4G World 2012: Telstra Vents on Video Chat Standards.)

"The industry could move faster, of course, but the standards are there," says Ashrafi.

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— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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