AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon have ended the Cross Carrier Messaging Initiative (CCMI), the joint venture they formed in 2019 to push RCS texting, according to Light Reading. Verizon (the owner of Engadget's parent company) told the publication that "[t]he owners of the Cross Carrier Messaging Initiative decided to end the joint venture effort." The spokesperson added that while that's the case, the owners "remain committed to enhancing the messaging experience for customers including growing the availability of RCS."
The carriers, which included Sprint before it merged with T-Mobile, formed the CCMI to create a single RCS experience across carriers. RCS is meant to replace the SMS protocol and give users access to iMessage- and Whatsapp-like features. The companies were going to create a new app that will work across their networks for Android users, but they made little headway with their plans.
T-Mobile made progress toward adopting RCS by teaming up with Google to make the service available to all its subscribers. And just last month, the carrier made Google Messages its default texting app. While AT&T's and Verizon's plans remain unclear at the moment, Google has been expanding RCS protocol's availability around the world. As of November last year, it finished rolling out RCS globally, making it available for use to anyone with an Android phone that has Google Messages. It also started testing end-to-end encryption for more secure conversations.