France Telecom-Orange has added its name to the small but growing list of operators to have launched services based on joyn, the brand name for the Rich Communications Services-enhanced (RCS-e) standard backed by industry body the GSM Association (GSMA).
The operator has launched joyn in its home territory of France, becoming the first French operator to do so, and says customers using the service will be able to chat and make file transfers during calls.
The standard is widely perceived to be an attempt by operators to reclaim the initiative from so-called ‘over-the-top’ players like Google (Mountain View, CA, USA) and Skype (Luxembourg) in the area of value-added services.
Even so, it has attracted more than its fair share of negative publicity and, although it seems to have proven popular in South Korea, is thought to have made little headway in some of the markets where it has been launched, such as Germany and Spain, where France Telecom-owned Orange Spain (Pozuelo de Alarcon, Spain) is supporting the technology.
Interoperability issues have been largely blamed for its failure to catch on – while users of web applications like Skype need simply to download an app, customers of joyn cannot communicate with subscribers on other networks unless those operators have made the investments necessary to support the service.
The GSMA, however, seems encouraged that another major European operator has finally introduced the technology.
A GSMA statement indicates that customers of France Telecom (Paris, France) will be able to access joyn services after downloading an app, but the operator says the Sony Xperia Z, HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4 will come with joyn preinstalled later this year.
It also notes that joyn will be available across most Android and Windows handsets currently available to customers in France from 2014.
“Orange has been a strong supporter of RCS from the start of the program and its experience as one of the three operators in Spain who launched the world’s first interoperable joyn solution towards the end of 2012 will certainly contribute to the success of the service in France,” said Graham Trickey, senior projects director at the GSMA.
France Telecom’s launch takes the total number of operators supporting joyn to 14 in nine countries, with another 27 operators committed to launching services in the near future.
Last week, T-Mobile Netherlands announced that it would launch joyn services between October and December this year.
A study from Infonetics Research forecasts that mobile operators will take in a cumulative $1.6 billion from RCS service fees between 2012 and 2016.