RCS finds an unlikely home in India


Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited, or Jio, is an LTE mobile network operator in India. And the company has just disrupted the entire Indian market by bringing LTE-quality RCS (Rich Communications Services) voice services to 100 million customers in less than six months. The telecommunications company claims that they reached this milestone faster than Facebook, WhatsApp, or Skype managed the same feat.

When Reliance Jio launched its 4G LTE network in late 2016, it also released 12 mobile apps to accommodate audio, video, and communication. Of these apps, one of them stands head and shoulders above the others: JioVoice. It is certainly something to take notice of and might be a coming of age for RCS messaging.

So, what is JioVoice?

Jio4GVoice (JioVoice) is essentially a communication app. It lets users make HD calls through VoLTE and non-VoLTE smartphones; and it leverages RCS with features such as chat, group chat, file sharing, location sharing, emojis, and stickers. It lets people across India communicate via the networks, regardless of what kind of phone they’ve got. And since most of India still has 2G and 3G-enabled phones, it’s a stroke of genius. The app’s usefulness is summed up nicely on it’s Google Play Store description:

“Jio4GVoice brings true 4G/VoLTE high-definition voice and video calling on your existing 2G, 3G, and 4G smartphone(s). You can use Jio4GVoice with a Jio SIM either on the phone or in a JioFi connected to your phone.”

What’s it capable of?

The app is intended to make communication seamless, connecting devices across the network. Using it to call friends or relatives means you’re getting a clear phone-to-phone connection. And it includes the ability to switch between plain and rich calls. If you’re in a hurry or would prefer a plain call, you can switch between the two effortlessly.

The app allows customized messaging options (emojis and the like) and image and location sharing. Users can also mark a call as ‘Urgent’ or use the in-app screen to doodle: share thoughts or sketch simple diagrams to emphasize their points.

A curious development has arisen whereby the company released an update that allows users to bypass the JioVoice app altogether and use the Jio network to make calls. So while the app is relevant in the current market, could mass scale adoption of 4G-enabled devices make it redundant? Well, given the current speeds of adoption for 3G, and even 2G, in India, it’s unlikely that mass-scale 4G adoption will happen overnight.

What next for RCS?

But the telecommunications company is also keeping its fingers on the pulse. They’re investing heavily in other forms of RCS. This to supplement an already rich SMS market. And we already know what Google’s doing for RCS.

In an article titled ‘Can Google kill WhatsApp’, Sun Ung Lee, a telecommunications and electronics expert, explored how Google could potentially create a ‘super RCS’ app that would come preinstalled with smartphones. The app would be capable of sending any form of media including MMS, SMS, and video content to any Android user in the world.

One just has to read more on the app from Google Play Store to see how Reliance Jio is building towards a similar goal with JioVoice.

“With Jio4GVoice you can send and receive text messages from your Jio number to any mobile number. You can do group chats & share images, videos, location, and all types of files like .zip, .pdf to your Jio4GVoice contacts. Set Jio4GVoice as your default messaging app to manage all your SMS and chat threads in one inbox.”


If the state of SMS and RCS messaging interests you then read our latest article. It asks whether the two technologies are competing or supporting each other and touches on recent developments with these technologies. If you're ready for RCS, have a look at our RCS business messaging solution and sign up for early access.

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