Rich Communication Services (RCS) is the next big communication protocol on your smartphone. Invented to supersede SMS, this isn’t your typical messaging service like WhatsApp or Facebook. No, this is going to be carrier supported with Google spearheading the change. As usual, carriers are slow on the uptake and only Sprint currently supports it via the Android Messages application. T-Mobile pledged support earlier this year too, claiming they’d roll it out in Q2 of 2018. We’re beginning to see the fruits of that pledge, as T-Mobile is rolling it out now, starting with the Samsung Galaxy S7.
GSMA Universal Profile 1.0 sw updates have started rolling out, extending @TMobile’s long history of RCS leadership, bringing up to 100MB transfers and 100-person group chats natively. Starting w/ Galaxy S7/S7 Edge devices & more to come over time!
Sure, we’re at the end of Q2 but they’re still sticking to their promise. That being said, it’s strange that the Samsung Galaxy S7 is the first to be supported, rather than a more recent flagship like the Samsung Galaxy S9. RCS has a number of benefits over regular SMS, as it allows for larger group chats (up too 100 people) and larger file transfers. Carriers are beginning to take up the protocol, but what about OEMs? Carrier support will certainly be the hardest part, but phone manufacturers will also be hard to convince. We’re still waiting on the two largest U.S. carriers, Verizon and AT&T, to announce their plans for supporting the protocol.
Thankfully, two of the biggest players, Samsung and Huawei, are already switching over. RCS has numerous benefits over regular SMS. These include read-receipts, typing notifications, high-quality attachments, and better group messaging. It essentially upgrades SMS messaging to be in-line with what online messengers offer. It doesn’t even require you to download a new application, as once all carriers switch you’ll be able to use it just like SMS. Until then, we won’t truly be able to see the benefits. It’s the closest Android will get to an iMessage competitor by the looks of things, and we welcome its arrival with open arms.