Dish taps Mavenir for RCS messaging services

In addition to using Mavenir software in its radio access network (RAN), Dish Network is tapping the Texas-based vendor’s cloud-native messaging platform for customer support services.

Dish on Monday said it will deploy Mavenir’s RCS Business Messaging software that uses Rich Communication Services (RCS) and Messaging-as-a-Platform (MaaP) technologies. It enables advanced voice and multimedia messaging including cloud-native video, Voice over WiFi (VoWiFi) and Voice over LTE (VoLTE).

According to the announcement, Dish customers will be able to access services from an app that uses AI and chatbots, allowing users to interact with virtual assistants for customer service questions and to explore and change subscription plans, as well as participate in promotions.

Dish has been building up the vendor pool for entry as a fourth facilities-based nationwide wireless carrier, with plans to build a new standalone 5G network from scratch using open RAN architecture. Mavenir was the first vendor Dish named publicly, in April choosing its OpenRAN software capabilities to support the virtualized, cloud-native RAN.

In a statement, Dish EVP and Chief Network Officer Marc Rouanne said that Mavenir’s already playing a key role in the RAN software and now Dish is looking to the company for messaging services “and beyond.”

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“Mavenir’s innovative, cloud-native software solutions are compliant with our reimagined network architecture, which enables us to change the wireless busines model and select vendor services and functions on demand,” Rouanne stated.

Mavenir positions its RCS Business Messaging software as a way for network operators to protect application-to-person (A2P) revenue from business-focused over the top (OTT) applications from the likes of WhatsApp, LINE and Facebook Messenger for Business, who had eaten into carriers’ SMS revenue.

The software can implement RCS messaging into the network quickly and easily from the cloud, and is fully compatible with GSMA Universal Profile clients like Google Android Messages or Samsung Messages.

RELATED: Mavenir boasts RCS interconnection with Telefónica, Vodafone, DT

Network operators can integrate chatbots, mobile payments and other messaging-based applications for business-to-consumer messaging. RCS enables more advanced features beyond traditional SMS messaging, like picture sharing, audio and video, group messaging, and other capabilities beyond traditional SMS messaging.

Among other benefits Mavenir touts is the inclusion of a monetization platform that lets op-in customers to receive offers or be rewarded with things like more minutes, data or points.

Mavenir says it has a 37% share of the RCS market with 13 active RCS deployments and more than 495 million RCS subscribers sold globally, according to its website.

This past spring Mavenir deployed its voice and messaging software as part of Rakuten Mobile’s communication app, Rakuten Link. And in June completed one the largest RCS carrier interconnections to date with the networks of Telefónica, Vodafone, and Desutche Telekom Germany.

“We will enable DISH to provide innovative 5G services on demand, addressing new enterprise use cases based on network slicing and features with agility, speed and automation at a significantly lower cost compared to traditional operators," said Mavenir president and CEO Pardeep Kohli in a statement.

RELATED: Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile finally rally around RCS

A GSMA-led standard for RCS was a project in the works for years, and gained more wide-spread traction with support from Google and eventually major U.S. carriers. Last fall AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon and Sprint created a joint venture to deliver RCS-based messaging, while Google brought RCS chat services to U.S.-based Android users in November 2019.

T-Mobile was the first operator to launch RCS in 2015, and this past May announced a deal with Google to expand RCS so that T-Mobile customers could share RCS messages with Android users on other networks globally.

Article updated to correct that Mavenir has more than 495 million RCS subscribers sold globally, not 495.