MTS bringing Rich Communications Services to Russia

Russia’s MTS is launching a new app offering several communications services across Moscow.

The operator has labelled the MTS Connect app as an “OTT service” which will allow iOS and Android users in Moscow to make calls, send messages and share files based on Rich Communications Services.

MTS aims to expand the app into other regions of Russia as well as adjacent markets such as Armenia, Belarus, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. Implementing the app – which involved development costs, network optimisation and purchasing servers – has cost MTS RUB 100 million ($1.4 million).

In a statement, the company said: “unlike many instant messengers, users will be identified through their mobile accounts, which fully eliminates any risk of losing the access to the service due to hacking messenger accounts.”

The operator also noted the Rich Communication Services can provide users with access to features such as instant messaging and live video regardless of whether they are using Wi-Fi, 2G, 3G or 4G networks. The technology, which is backed by the GSMA, uses an IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) backbone to offer advanced messaging options.

RCS technologies have undergone something of a resurgence recently with Google’s October purchase of Jibe Mobile, which provides RCS to major international operators including Deutsche Telekom, SFR, Sprint and Vodafone. Juniper Research has forecast that by 2018, over 83 billion RCS messages will be sent each year.

All calls and messages sent through the app over MTS’ network will not accrue separate charges regardless of whether the customer is within Russia or roaming overseas. Data however will be charged according to the customer’s particular tariff.

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