Sprint, Google publicize RCS-based ad campaigns, but other U.S. carriers remain mum

Sprint and Google announced the results of their launch of Rich Communication Service-based messaging offerings, noting that advertisers including 1-800 Contacts, 1-800-Flowers.com, Booking.com, SnapTravel and Subway, among others, have conducted advertising efforts using the messaging technology.

The two companies said messaging vendors including 3C, CM.com, Mobivity, OpenMarket, Smooch and Twilio support the RCS service.

Google, however, in its announcement of RCS momentum, made no mention of support from other U.S. wireless network operators like T-Mobile, Verizon and AT&T. Representatives from those carriers didn’t immediately respond to a question seeking comment on the situation.

Google has used the annual Mobile World Congress trade show to highlight its RCS messaging efforts. The show starts next week, and with it, Google may well offer additional RCS news.

“In the coming months alongside our partners, we’ll bring RCS messaging to businesses in more regions,” Google promised in a post on the topic. “And next week at Mobile World Congress, our partners will demonstrate how businesses can change the way they engage mobile customers using RCS.”

Indeed, Google said its RCS efforts have generated support among a wide range of Android smartphone makers as well as wireless network operators in Europe and Latin America. Specifically, the company said America Movil, AT&T in Mexico, Celcom Axiata Berhad, Freedom Mobile, Oi, Telia Company and Telefonica joined Deutsche Telekom, Globe Telecom, Orange, Rogers Communications, Sprint and Telenor Group in a promise to offer RCS messaging through Google’s Jibe RCS cloud.

RELATED: Deutsche Telekom, Orange launch RCS, Google's answer to iMessage

The company added that Android smartphone makers including TCL/Alcatel/Blackberry, Essential, Huawei, LG, General Mobile, Nokia phone maker HMD Global, HTC, Motorola, MyPhone, QMobile, Sony Mobile, Symphony, ZTE and others have agreed to use Google’s RCS-capable Android Messages app as the default messaging service in their devices. (Samsung, the world’s largest Android smartphone vendor, remains conspicuously absent from that list.)

Google said its RCS carrier partners “represent more than 1.8 billion mobile subscribers worldwide.”

Nonetheless, the pace of Google’s RCS rollout remains less than inspiring. The company has been pushing RCS for more than two years, and the GSMA promoted the effort as “joyn” before that.

Some critics contend the technology is a dead end: “A reminder if one were needed: if you're going to #MWC18 ignore the annual hoopla about #RCS messaging. It's just as dead this year as it has been for the last 10 years,” tweeted analyst Dean Bubley.

Google purchased Jibe Mobile in 2015 to house its RCS services. And Sprint and Google announced the launch of RCS at the end of 2016. That Google is touting the advertising potential of RCS makes sense considering the internet giant makes the bulk of its revenues through advertising on search and other products.