AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon have ended the Cross Carrier Messaging Initiative (CCMI), the joint venture they formed in 2019 to boost RCS text messaging, said Read lightVerizon (the owner of Engadget’s parent company) told the publication that “[t]The owners of the Cross Carrier Messaging Initiative decided to terminate the joint venture. The spokesperson added that while that is the case, the owners “remain committed to improving the messaging experience for customers, including increasing the availability of RCS. “
The carriers, including Sprint before merging with T-Mobile, formed the CCMI to create a single RCS experience for all carriers. RCS aims to replace the SMS protocol and give users access to iMessage and Whatsapp like functions. The companies went on to create a new app that works for Android users on their networks, but they made little headway with their plans.
T-Mobile made progress towards RCS by partnering with Google to make the service available to all of its subscribers. And last month, the carrier made Google Messages its default text messaging app. While AT&T and Verizon’s plans remain unclear at this point, Google has expanded the availability of the RCS protocol around the world. Since November last year, RCS has been rolled out worldwide, making it available to anyone with an Android phone with Google Messages. It also started testing end-to-end encryption for safer conversations.