This week we had the launch of the mobile communication service Joyn – a Rich Communication Service (RCS) leaded by the GSMA body and with the backing from all major mobile carriers.The service was initially just launched in Spain and on Android devices only, but will eventually be expanded into other countries and support iOS devices.
However this announcement reminds me to the title of a Colombian author: Chronicle of a Death Foretold. It is another try to stay relevant in a business that is increasingly becoming a commodity, and everything points to mobile operators failing, again.
This is not the first time the GSMA tried to fight over the top services that benefit from mobile data connections and smartphones. With the success of mobile application markets like the App Store, mobile operators setup a joint group to offer a central app repository. This failed even before launch, which was expected given the complexity of having software for different platforms, from different developers, etc. and all on very closed environments such as the iPhone.
This new attempt to fight against Whatsapp, Viber and many others will surely have the same result… It only offers instant messaging and allows to send media between contacts, but obviously lacks voice or video calling. So not only are not all platforms supported in every country at launch, but most importantly there is absolutely no feature to attract users.
The only hopes Joyn has is in being pre-installed on all devices, however I don’t see this happening with a couple of major brands, such as Apple and Blackberry, and even for Android not all manufacturers might agree. And even mobile operators are not relying only on Joyn, but have launched their own OTT services, such as TuMe from Telefonica or Libon by Orange.
Its hard to know what will happen with Joyn, but it will surely face tough competition to remain relevant, let alone provide benefits to mobile operators. Has it been too little, too late?