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GSMA Announces Release 2 Service Specification for Rich Communication Suite

LONDON, September 21 /PRNewswire/ --

- GSMA Also Launches RCS DevChallenge Competition to Spur the Creation of Future RCS-Based Services

The GSMA, which represents the interests of the mobile communications industry, today announced the release of the next set of Rich Communication Suite (RCS) service specifications, RCS Release 2. The GSMA has also launched the RCS DevChallenge, a competition for developers that will encourage new and innovative ideas for future RCS-based services.

The GSMA's RCS Initiative provides operators with a feature-rich portfolio of interoperable communication services that they can offer to their customers, and this latest specification includes key enhancements to the core feature set included in RCS Release 1, such as a broadband access client and support for a multi-device environment.

Having broadband access to core RCS services such as in-call multimedia sharing, conversational messaging and presence-enhanced contact management means that users will be able to access services and applications from both mobile and fixed terminals, resulting in a seamless experience across both mobile phones and PCs. Utilising mobile and fixed terminals when accessing RCS services will result in the use of multiple clients, even though the mobile phone will remain as the customer's primary device, and will provide greater flexibility as well as enhance the user experience.

"Users want to be able to access and share rich content between their mobile phone and their PC and RCS Release 2 will enable operators to provide this through a variety of new applications and services," said Alex Sinclair, Chief Technology and Strategy Officer at the GSMA. "Developed by the collaborative efforts of leading companies in the mobile industry, RCS is already in live deployment in South Korea and in operator trials underway elsewhere in the world."

The number of operators and equipment manufacturers supporting RCS has grown significantly in the past six months, growing to 81 participating companies. New participants in the RCS initiative include Belgacom, Hitachi, IBM, mobilkom austria, Tele2 Sweden and Telecom New Zealand, amongst others. The organisations working with the GSMA and collaborating as part of its RCS initiative are focused on driving the development and adoption of this industry-standard and enhanced communications service.

RCS DevChallenge

The GSMA has also launched a new competition for mobile and PC client developers called RCS DevChallenge. The competition will encourage innovative developers to deliver the most useable and attractive RCS client that can either be embedded in a mobile phone or used on a PC, as well as demonstrate new and innovative ideas for future RCS-based services.

"The RCS DevChallenge provides a unique opportunity for developers to gain exposure in front of senior executives and key decision makers from some of the world's leading companies in the mobile industry," added Sinclair. "The fact that all the major handset manufacturers are members of our RCS Initiative and will be keeping a close eye on the competition bodes well for competitors."

RCS DevChallenge will involve developers competing in two categories: Best RCS Client (with separate mobile and PC sub-categories) and Best RCS Innovation. The winner from each category will be highlighted in the RCS DevChallenge Showcase at GSMA's Mobile World Congress, which takes place in Barcelona in February 2010. In addition to an award plaque, the winning client application will also be actively evaluated by participating mobile operators and RCS vendors for commercial use.

The GSMA's RCS DevChallenge is sponsored by Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, Nokia Siemens Networks, Orange and Telefonica. For more information and to register please visit: http://www.rcsdevchallenge.com.

For more information on the GSMA's RCS Initiative and the Release 2 specification please visit: http://www.gsmworld.com/rcs.

Supporting Quotes

RCS Release 2

"We believe that RCS will become the first real-world communication package that will instantly penetrate the global market. RCS goes beyond traditional 3G multimedia services and successfully combines a number of exciting features together that consumers would like to use on a daily basis," says Dr. In-Kyung Kim, Vice President and Head of 4G Development Lab at LG Electronics. "Customer feedback from Mobile World Congress 2009 has suggested that LG RCS was an outstanding implementation which correctly depicts what user experience for RCS should be like. LG is fully ready to dive into RCS commercialisation. We are looking forward to service providers' deployment plans."

"The GSMA's RCS Initiative is playing a critical role in driving the evolution of globally interoperable communication services and preventing fragmentation of core telecom services. We believe this will enrich the ways in which people can communicate using their mobile devices, whilst maintaining the level of interoperability that we are now used to with voice calls and text messages," said Timo Ali-Vehmas, VP of Compatibility & Industry Collaboration at Nokia. "By leveraging existing standardisation work, the RCS Release 2 Specification will help deliver richer communication solutions to consumers."

"Thanks to the collaborative effort of those part of the GSMA's RCS initiative, we have delivered the RCS Release 2 specification that will enable a richer and more enhanced user experience for customers," said Aude Pichelin, Chair of the GSMA's RCS Initiative and Head of Multimedia Services Standardisation at Orange. "Following ongoing RCS trials and with the recent launch of the first RCS-based services, we expect many more trials and commercial deployments in the coming months."

Ron Louks, CTO at Sony Ericsson, commented: "As a member of the GSMA RCS Initiative, Sony Ericsson values the GSMA's support and push for RCS, including the evolution of the Release 2 Specification with fixed-network interworking features. Sony Ericsson sees this as a good step for the operators to evolve telecom services into rich media services."

RCS DevChallenge

"As an active member of GSMA RCS initiative, Alcatel-Lucent is helping service providers leverage RCS Release 2 to successfully meet consumer demand for a new generation of seamless, enhanced services that transcend devices, fixed and wireless telephony domains and the Web," said Gani Nayak, President of Alcatel-Lucent's Interactive Media and Communication Applications Business. "We are excited to sponsor the RCS DevChallenge, which will speed up the introduction of new, differentiated and personalised applications that service providers can deliver to their subscribers and enhance their position in the Web 2.0 value chain."

"Ericsson welcomes the release of RCS Release 2 that allows Service Providers to offer a common, multimedia communications experience for Mobiles and other Broadband connected devices," said Magnus Furustam, Vice President of Ericsson's Product Area Core and IMS. "Our RCS activities are focused on realising a comprehensive and interoperable communications platform to unite the billions of Telecom subscribers with a few common standards. The open and inclusive nature of RCS provides an ideal platform for developer innovation and we are therefore pleased to sponsor the RCS DevChallenge."

"The end-user experience is crucial for consumers to adopt multimedia enriched voice communication. Ease of use, intuitiveness and seamless user experience across different mobile and fixed terminals, and end-to-end interoperability will help for a rapid service uptake and ensure lasting customer loyalty. Nokia Siemens Networks is very supportive of the GSMA RCS DevChallenge contest and its objectives to emphasise the key principles of usability, design, conformance and innovation for RCS clients, at a time where we are ready to deliver commercial RCS solutions to operators worldwide," says Mechthild Behrens, Head of Solution Management, Next Generation Voice and Multimedia, Nokia Siemens Networks.

About the GSMA

The GSMA represents the interests of the worldwide mobile communications industry. Spanning 219 countries, the GSMA unites more than 750 of the world's mobile operators, as well as 200 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset makers, software companies, equipment providers, Internet companies, and media and entertainment organisations. The GSMA is focused on innovating, incubating and creating new opportunities for its membership, all with the end goal of driving the growth of the mobile communications industry.

For more information, please visit: http://www.gsmworld.com


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