RCS messagingSource: 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 Messages app an iMessage and WhatsApp competitor. While it is typically carrier dependent, Google has opted to take on that burden for now while carriers get their act together.

The company announced the rollout of RCS last year, but it has been a slow release so far.

Where is Google's RCS officially available?

RCS is available in the following countries as per Google's official announcements. The company brought it to the UK last year first, with Spain being the most recent addition in March 2020.

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  • France
  • Mexico
  • Spain
  • The United Kingdom
  • The United States

Tentative availability

Google has yet to announce the rollout of RCS in these regions, but users have self-reported access to the service, indicating an ongoing roll-out. The folks over at reddit do keep a running spreadsheet, and new user sightings pop up by the day.

In October 2020, users had reported RCS hitting new countries including Indonesia, Nigeria, and Zambia.

The full list of user-reported countries follows below.

  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Bangladesh
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Czechia
  • Denmark
  • Greece
  • Ghana
  • Indonesia
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Kenya
  • Kosovo
  • Latvia
  • Lebanon
  • Lithuania
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Nigeria
  • Pakistan
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Serbia
  • Singapore
  • Slovenia
  • Sri Lanka
  • Switzerland
  • Turkey
  • Ukraine
  • Zambia

Apps that support RCS

As of now, only Google's Messages app supports Google's chat protocol. The company and Samsung have announced a pairing that would allow for cross-compatibility which should be rolling out sometime this year. Google also plans to allow other OEMs to build RCS support into their first-party SMS apps. However, both Google and Samsung's messaging apps can plug into carrier supported RCS at the moment, which brings us to our next section.

Carriers that support RCS

In some places, carriers already support RCS. You won't need to wait for Google if you're in one of those countries, all you need is a SIM card and an Android phone running an RCS compatible app. GSMA offers a list of all carriers offering RCS through July 8 — alphabetized below for your convenience.

Asia Pacific

  • Australia - Telstra
  • India - Airtel (Bharti Airtel)
  • India - Reliance Jio (Reliance Industries)
  • Japan - KDDI
  • Japan - NTT DOCOMO
  • Japan - SoftBank
  • Malaysia - Celcom (Axiata)
  • New Zealand - Vodafone
  • Philippines - Globe Telecom
  • South Korea - LG Uplus
  • South Korea - SK Telecom
  • South Korea - KT

Europe

  • Albania - Telekom Albania (OTE)
  • Albania - Vodafone
  • Belgium - Orange
  • Czech Republic - Vodafone
  • Denmark - Telekom (Deutsche Telekom)
  • France - SFR (Altice Europe)
  • Germany - O2 (Telefonica)
  • Germany - Telekom (Deutsche Telekom)
  • Greece - Cosmote (OTE)
  • Greece - Vodafone
  • Hungary - Magyar Telecom
  • Hungary - Vodafone
  • Ireland - Vodafone
  • Italy - Vodafone
  • Malta - Vodafone
  • Norway - Telenor
  • Norway - Telia
  • Portugal - Vodafone
  • Romania - Orange
  • Romania - Telekom Romania (OTE)
  • Romania - Vodafone
  • Russian Federation - MTS (Sistema)e
  • Slovakia - Orange
  • Slovakia - Slovak Telekom (Deutsche Telekom)
  • Spain - Movistar (Telefonica)
  • Spain - Orange
  • Spain - Vodafone
  • Sweden - Telia
  • Switzerland - Swisscom
  • United Kingdom - Vodafone

Greater China

  • China - China Mobile

Latin America

  • Argentina - Claro (America Movil)
  • Brazil - Claro
  • Brazil - Nextel
  • Brazil - Oi
  • Brazil - Vivo (Telefonica)
  • Columbia - Claro (America Movil)
  • Costa Rica - Claro (America Movil)
  • Dominican Republic - Claro (America Movil)
  • El Salvador - Claro (America Movil)
  • Guatemala - Claro/Movistar (America Movil)
  • Hondruras - Claro (America Movil)
  • Mexico - Movistar (Telefonica)
  • Mexico - Telcel (América Móvil)
  • Nicaragua - Claro (America Movil)
  • Panama - Clara (America Movil)
  • Paraguay - Claro (America Movil)
  • Puerto Rico - Claro (America Movil)
  • Uruguay - Claro (America Movil)

Middle East and North Africa

  • Jordan - Orange (Jordan Telecom)
  • Morocco - Orange
  • Tunisia - Orange
  • Turkey- Vodafone

North America

  • Canada - Bell (BCE)
  • Canada - Rogers
  • Canada - Telus
  • United States of America - AT&T
  • United States of America - Evolve Cellular
  • United States of America - Google Fi
  • United States of America - Illinois Valley Cellular
  • United States of America - Sprint (SoftBank)
  • United States of America - T-Mobile (Deutsche Telekom)
  • United States of America - TracFone Wireless
  • United States of America - U.S. Cellular
  • United States of America - Verizon Wireless

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Botswana - Orange
  • Burkina Faso - Orange
  • Cameroon - Orange
  • Congo, Democratic Republic - Orange
  • Cote d'Ivoire - Orange
  • Guinea - Orange (Sonatel)
  • Guinea-Bissau - Orange (Sonatel)
  • Madagascar - Orange
  • Niger - Orange
  • Nigeria - 9Mobile
  • Senegal - Orange (Sonatel)
  • South Africa - Vodacom

How to enable RCS Chat features on any Android device