Skip to main content

Every country and carrier that supports Google RCS

Enable RCS Google Messages Zenfone 8
Enable RCS Google Messages Zenfone 8 (Image credit: Samuel Contreras / Android Central)

RCS is an upgrade to the standard SMS messaging feature set that exists on all smartphones. It adds typing indicators, read receipts, emoji reactions, support for higher quality file sharing, and so on. In essence, it turns basic SMS into instant messaging and makes the Google Messages app an iMessage and WhatsApp competitor. Even though many of us have made our favorite chat apps a big part of our lives, there are times where we still need something simple and much more universal.

Many Android users are ready for this upgrade, and Google has taken it upon itself to expand the service, gaining greater carrier support with Google Messages becoming the default messaging app for most Android devices sold.

Where is Google's RCS officially available?

RCS availability

Source: Google Google's RCS solution has no borders but you still need the right app and data service to go with it. (Image credit: Source: Google)

Google has now rolled out RCS via its Google Messages app worldwide with only a few countries lacking support. While carrier support is no longer specifically needed, you will need to be able to download the Google Messages app as well as access Google's services. RCS is powered by Google-owned Jibe Mobile, though Jibe noted in its global release announcement that in some cases, RCS availability depends on your device and service provider.

Since Google Messages has been made default by many manufacturers and it's downloadable on the others, you're free to use the feature on any of the best Android phones. You can also use any carrier, including prepaid carriers. This also allows you to pick the best cell phone plan regardless of the carrier without giving up chat features.

Finally, it's possible the default messaging app on your phone supports RCS already. Still, there are compatibility differences between some of these versions that may make certain features unavailable. Google has also added desirable features to its app such as end-to-end encryption that may not be available with other apps.

Apps that support RCS

Google Messages is the app that makes RCS chat features a reality to most Android users. Alongside an update to Carrier Services, Google Messages has brought RCS chat messaging to the platform regardless of carrier or manufacturer. This app can also handle your SMS and MMS messages from your friends that haven't upgraded to the new standard, including iPhone users. While a few other carrier apps have enabled the feature, Google Messages is the easiest way to enable RCS on Android.

Samsung users may have also noticed the feature in the default Samsung Messages app. It may be necessary to update your phone and apps to enable the feature.

When Samuel is not writing about networking or 5G at Android Central, he spends most of his time researching computer components and obsessing over what CPU goes into the ultimate Windows 98 computer. It's the Pentium 3.

31 Comments
  • I thought the whole point of this was that it didn't require support from "carriers"?
  • Google wants carriers to support it, but the problem is very few do, in the Uk, we have one and that is Vodafone, I thought 3 did as well, but not according to the list above.
    so because networks are more or less ignoring it google have moved in.
  • I'm in the UK too, which is why I put"carriers" in quotation marks. I'm on giffgaff as my primary SIM so it's a good job I don't care about RCS lol. 3 may support it, I wouldn't count on their complete list to be complete.
  • I am with Smarty myself, which is owned by 3 and is on their networks, i have seen nothing about RCS from them or any other name they may call it. Vodafone calls it Message+ or something like that.
  • It's available on 3 and has been since about July 2019. I've been using it since then in my OnePlus 6T and now on my 7T.
  • I thought I heard somewhere it was, but since I don't use 3, I could not check, so do they use their own app or Googles own?
  • Nope. I just use the stock Android Messages app.
  • Fair enough, I use Smarty not 3, while it is owned by 3 I can not see it working on there, anyway I do not use the android messages' app, I use the one supplied by Huawei and it does what I need and to be honest I really do not want another app doing what the app I am using now is doing.
  • Still sounds pretty patchwork. Lots of people don't have Google Messages installed so if they're going to install an app they'll probably go for WhatsApp so they get cross-platform compatibility, which RCS doesn't offer as long as Apple refuses to support it.
  • There you go, you have got it in one. On another tech site I was blasted because I more or less said the same thing as you. I have a Huawei phone and that comes with its own SMS app, which for me works fine, so why would I need to install another app? I know Facebook Messenger can be used for SMS, not that I do, can you do that with WhatsApp? I do not use it, so I do not know if so then surly WhatsApp could support RCS? Myself I do not want all the features that RCS offers and I got blasted for that, I am happy with SMS and when I said about apple needing to support it, I got blasted for that as according to him RCS is a global standard that is an evolution of SMS/MMS, maybe so, but it still needs Apple to make it relevant.
    A fair few people I text are apple users, so they get my text as SMS and I get theirs as SMS. That suits me to be honest, I do not want all the rubbish that RCS will bring. i send a text and get one back, it tells me that the person have received it and that is good enough, I am not interest if they have read it or not, they will reply when they feel like it.
  • No, WhatsApp can't be used to send SMS - I was more meaning if you want the rich functionality of RCS along with cross platform compatibility many people will go with WhatsApp. By integrating iMessage with SMS on an app that is on all Apple phones they have ensured universal compatibility within their ecosystem and drop down to basic SMS when leaving it. I therefore can't see any significant reason on their part (unless they are forced to do it) to support RCS as iMessage (along with Facetime) are undoubtedly part of how they lock folks into iOS.
  • The whole point of RCS is to replace SMS at the network level, a lot of people will not install WhatsApp or want to, myself included,. I was reading somewhere that Imessage is why some people get an iPhone and that is the reason why apple will not allow any other platform to use it. I can understand their reason, like blackberry years ago.
  • "as long as Apple refuses to support it." It is a reasonable stance. Apple's iMessage has features even RCS doesn't yet, like secure group chat) and it isn't ubiquitously supported by carriers. It is (was?) intended to replace SMS and when/if that happens, I expect iMessage will fallback to it, like it does today with SMS.
  • It doesn't require Google's messages app. My wife has a Galaxy S10 and it works through the Samsung app (we are on T-Mobile). It does need to be supported specifically though which is why it won't ever take off fully and replace SMS/MMS. Those third party apps could support it if they chose but I doubt they ever will (or maybe there is something preventing them from adding it? I am not sure).
  • Amusingly enough, Google Voice (not to be confused with Google Fi) *does not* support RCS.
  • RCS is not a Google thing, which is why I wonder why Google is trying to get people to use it.
  • > RCS is not a Google thing RCS as in "standard" is not Google thing, RCS as in "service" (at least in my case) is provided by Jibe Mobile from Google (https://support.google.com/messages/answer/9592174?hl=en), but not if I am using Google Voice... go figure.
  • The link below for wikipedia will tell you more about RCS https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rich_Communication_Services
    chat is just a name Google gives to it, like Vodafone calls RCS message+. I still wonder why Google is so keen to get people to use RCS unless they think that it will pull more people from the Iphone to the Android platform. i don't think it will, the people I know that uses iPhone do so because they like the way it works, myself I hate IOS, just the way the icons are organised for a start.
  • > The link below for wikipedia will tell you more about RCS After reading terms and conditions and accepting them in order to have RCS work on my phone, I do not need Wikipedia to tell me who provides the service *in my case*. Do other carriers provide RCS without resorting to Jibe Mobile? Absolutely. Does Google support RCS on the Google Voice, despite providing it elsewhere? Absolutely not.
  • I did not link to Wiki to show you who provides the service, I linked to it to show you that RCs was not a Google thing, but is supposed to be something that replaces SMS. Some people may be interested to know who supplies the services if their carrier don't before they take the plunge to install Google messenger. While I am not going to use RCS or install google messenger, wiki did tell me some things i did not know,
    I don't really use much of Google services, I use youtube and that is about it,
  • My wife's Samsung phone has supported it all along using Samsung Messages on Sprint.
  • NOS in Portugal already has it
  • Why use rcs instead of whatsapp? Anyone who is anyone has data and whatsapp or their messenger of choice installed. OH, you don't use messenger X? Well either you're not worth being in my contact list or you'd better install it.
  • WhatsApp is only a fringe thing in North American. Almost everyone texts normally. You might see WhatsApp used by larger groups from group chats.
  • I will not use WhatsApp as I do not feel the need for it, If people want to contact me they have different ways, SMS, voice, email if they have to and if they must Facebook Messenger, I do have skype, but that is on my tablet and this computer. I do not feel I really need to install another app for people to contact me. I do get a request now and again from different people, but that have slowed down. if they really must they can leave a message on my echo dot.
    Whatsapp seems to be popular in the UK and for some people I can understand why with the groups and that sort of thing, my main problem is it needs my phone number to work and i really do not want to give my number to Facebook, I keep it off Facebook itself.
  • Why use anything you need to sign up for? SMS/MMS are built into every single phone on the planet, including Apple. I don't see a good reason to switch to something that excludes a large number of people. My wife and I use RCS but only because it is built into Samsung and Google phones. I wouldn't install a third party app to get it.
  • In most countries in Europe, this whole rcs thing will not do anything. Is wat to late to the table and for sure in my country (nl) almost everyone is using WhatsApp or telegram, yes including iPhone users. Besides that for me it's very important that messaging works over 3 devices, phone, tablet and laptop... Only telegram is doing all 3 perfectly. WhatsApp only 2 so I don't use that as much. Telegram is for me the main channel where I do most communication over.
  • Telegram works great and has really got a lot of options, I love it.
    Still, in Europe, WhatsApp became some kind of "messaging protocol by default".
    I think that all plans behind enhancing the SMS technology in the most developed countries are worth to be followed only if Google is going to give the option to merge in it the actual Hangouts/Voice accounts. It better do it fast 'cause once WA it's going to add multi device features is going to rule the World. Like it or not.
  • I think you are right and it has come too late to the party, just like MS with their Windows phones did.
    People will carry on using what they are using.
  • Bell Canada only supports its on Samsung devices
  • Is the "Carrier Services" app really necessary?
    RCS has been working fine without that app installed on my S10e and S21 on T-mobile.
    What's the point of that app?