There's an unexpected new leader when it comes to rich communications services (RCS) on LTE (News - Alert) networks in the United States, and that is MetroPCS. MetroPCS has recently brought out the communications system with plenty of exciting options for its users, putting it a step ahead of many of its competitors.
MetroPCS has aligned itself with GSMA (News - Alert) joyn, allowing it to bring out a variety of services like contacts presence, contact availability, status sync, chat, messaging and even content sharing all over the MetroPCS LTE network. Getting access to the service requires customers to subscribe to an LTE plan and get a handset that works with RCS/joyn. Then, users will download the joyn app from either Google (News - Alert) Play or the @metro App Store. MetroPCS expects that the service will “bring about substantial changes for customers,” as expressed by MetroPCS' vice president of product management, Solyman Ashrafi.
The downside for those interested in getting in on MetroPCS' RCS suite is that the MetroPCS only offers one handset with the RCS/joyn system: the Samsung Galaxy Attain 4G. Those not interested in one of those will be left out in the cold, at least for now. But this still represents the first such service to be offered on an LTE network, beating out even major competitors like Verizon and AT&T.
An advance like this is actually a pretty big step, and makes the idea of T-Mobile (News - Alert) and MetroPCS merging, as some were projecting, a smart idea. Combining T-Mobile's reach and market base with MetroPCS' unusual offering—something that even the big names don't yet have—is a combination that may well ultimately make T-Mobile viable again. That and combining four and five makes for a very significant challenge to three, currently represented by Sprint (News - Alert).
If MetroPCS can get more handsets that work with the RCS/joyn system and give the consumer more choice, that could put a lot of extra steam behind MetroPCS' position in the market. It may well even eventually lead to a new number four in the market, assuming that T-Mobile doesn't find a way to stem their losses. Counting on volatility in the mobile provider market is always a smart bet, and this most recent development is one of many clear signs that it's there.
Edited by Rachel Ramsey