The annual Mobile World Congress held in Barcelona, Spain isn’t just a big launching pad for dozens of new smartphones and other mobile devices and services. It’s also a venue for global operators, OEMs, vendors, content owners, and technology providers to come together and discuss the latest in the mobile industry and standards. For this year, more than twenty global operators convened in Barcelona and made an agreement to advance Rich Communications Services (RCS). It’s a new initiative that will enable these operators to provide an open and interoperable messaging service across Android devices from all over the world.

The operators joining this project include the following: Google, GSMA, Vodafone, Telstra, Deutsche Telekom, América Móvil, Etisalat, Bharti Airtel Ltd, KPN, Globe Telecom, Smart Communications, Millicom, KPN, MTN, Orange, PLAY, Telenor Group, TIM, Vimpelcom, Turkcell, and TeliaSonera. The idea is that with the RCS, these operators can work on a more consistent and reliable global messaging service.

These names in the mobile industry agreed to use a common and universal profile for RCS based on the specifications set by GSMA. Google is expected to provide the so-called Android RCS client that the operations and device manufacturers will be using. This Android RCS client will include instant messaging, group chat, photo sharing in high resolution, and read receipts. All these and more–GSMA RCS advanced calling features–will enhance the SMS experience of more than four billion mobile users globally.

Mobile operators can use either Google’s Jibe platform or their own once the RCS is ready to rollout. The Jibe platform features a cloud for individual operators and the Jibe hub to connect with other RCS operators.

Google’s Vice President of Communications Products Nick Fox said:

“Messaging holds a central place in our lives, whether it’s coordinating a meet-up, sharing photos with friends, or sending thoughts to a loved one. Today marks an important step forward in bringing a better messaging experience for Android users everywhere, and we’re thrilled to collaborate with our partners across the industry to make this happen.”

Since RCS is becoming popular and more widely used around the world, there seems to be a silent demand for other operators in different countries to join and use the services. This initiative set by the GSMA and the companies we listed above will allow mobile operators to finally deploy the more advanced messaging features.