Deutsche Telekom activates Joyn for richer communications

Deutsche Telekom(s dt) has adopted Joyn with immediate effect, allowing its mobile customers in Germany to use the platform to message, share files and videos and even play basic multiplayer games while talking to each other.

Joyn (technically known as Rich Communications Services or RCS) is an industry-wide initiative designed to counter third-party applications such as WhatsApp by augmenting the traditional voice-and-text functionality offered by the carrier. It doesn’t make a huge amount of sense unless your contact’s carrier also supports it – and so far, only users in Spain and South Korea can be sure that theirs does.

Vodafone(s vod) and Deutsche Telekom are the two biggest carriers in Germany, though, and both now support Joyn. That means quite a lot of people in the country will be able to use the service, the features of which are free. As in other deployments, initial usage will have to be through a special app – the Android(s goog) version is available now, and iOS(s aapl) will follow soon – while upcoming handsets from manufacturers such as Samsung and Nokia(s nok) will have Joyn baked in.

It’s too early to tell how successful Joyn will be at this early stage. It will certainly have a tough time in the U.S., where so far only MetroPCS(s pcs) has set it live. In South Korea, though, operator SK Telecom said in February that it had garnered a million Joyn users in just a couple of months since launch.