5G Software: When President Trump was at war with Huawei, the US put a lot of pressure on allies to avoid network hardware from Chinese companies. If only there were an American alternative. That seems to be happening now, and in American style, the new solution is software, not hardware.
AT&T announced it is moving its 5G management systems to Azure, and Vodafone is piloting an Ericsson/Google partnership. This dance might look familiar to the UCC crowd. Basically, cellular is transitioning from bespoke hardware to commodity (radio) hardware powered by the cloud.
RCS Is Closer: It took over a decade, but the next generation of SMS is arriving in the US. Now that Verizon finally caved, it looks like all three big US wireless carriers will support RCS (by default) within a year. Google agreed to host the back-end and provide the mobile client (Android Messages) — though it’s meant to be an open platform.
Just to keep things complicated, Verizon will continue to preload its Verizon Message+ (VM+) application, too, until Google can sync messages across multiple endpoints. RCS offers a variety of upgrades over SMS, including high-res images and video sharing, maps and directions, location sharing, typing indicator, and more. The latest RCS twist adds encryption, too.
RCS and Apple iMessage only offer encryption within their ecosystems. RCS will supposedly work across US carriers (assuming everyone uses Android Messages). Apple has not indicated any interest in supporting RCS on the iPhone. Rich-formatted messaging will drive new services for CPaaS providers.