China Mobile plans to deploy ZTE’s NFV technology in its new RCS (Rich Communication Suite) network beginning this year, said ZTE in a press conference on the opening day of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
"RCS is a killer app for operators to counter OTT services", said ZTE vice president Fang Hui. "A key strategy of China Mobile is to control entry to the mobile Internet by using RCS".
Fang said the genesis of the scheme occurred at Mobile World Congress 2014, when China Mobile announced new services for text, voice and messages using RCS technology. In September 2014, he said, the operator decided on ZTE as their partner.
"China Mobile is launching 4G and doesn't want to be a 'dumb pipe'," he said. "They want to leverage 4G as much as possible, which is why they're launching their RCS service."
Fang said that the current status of RCS involves internal testing of China Mobile's employees – a sample of about 500,000. "We did a successful RCS demonstration in Guangdong this December," he said. "It proved we could deliver in a short timeframe."
The ZTE VP said that China Mobile's plan for RCS rollout has three main advantages. Firstly, "RCS has a guarantee-of-service as it's a real-time service [with a] single point of management. If you're using an OTT service like WeChat, your message could be lost. But RCS is a native technology, so it offers guaranteed QoS".
Secondly, "the social network service of RCS is based on real identity rather than anonymous IDs, so it's reliable".
Fang acknowledged some users may not prefer to use their real identities, but added: "WeChat uses nicknames, not identities tied to a telephone number. But the real ID is important, because if you lose your password or other information [on WeChat], you can recover it with your telephone number."
The third reason is O2O, something Fang says "OTT service providers leverage today. China Mobile wants to master the O2O concept. China Mobile had success before with services that offered ringtone-downloads, and they want to replicate with RCS."
Fang added that China Mobile has a target of 16 million RCS users by end-2015, with capacity for 100 million users overall.