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RCS for T-Mobile subscribers could be here any day now

T-mobile users, your text messaging prowess is about to get more rich — in the sense of Rich Communication Services, that is.

T-Mobile customers have mentioned on Reddit and Google Plus that they're seeing the RCS option pop up in the settings panel on the Messenger for Google app. But it's been difficult to parse whether RCS is ready on the network given the lack of confirmation that it's life. Other subscribers have suggested that with Digits in beta, the functionality is inevitable.

RCS as often been poised at the "SMS Killer," and that's partially true. The standard will essentially infuse your plain old text messaging app with the same powers as Apple's iMessage. Here's how my colleague, Jerry Hildenbrand, explained it:

Combined with FaceTime, iMessage already offers exactly the things RCS is trying to achieve. Voice and video calls are simple and messages are rich with great media sharing and read receipts and typing indicators and everything else. And it uses SMS in tandem with regular data to do it. It's the best SMS app you'll ever use until RCS becomes ubiquitous (if it ever does.)

The option that Google Plus user, James Scott Jr., saw in his Messenger app.

Spring, T-Mobile, and AT&T were the three carriers who had initially signed on to the standard last year. But at present, only Sprint and Canada's Rogers has signed on. If T-Mobile is indeed ready to adopt, it'll be great news for RCS for the rest of us.

Florence Ion was formerly an editor and columnist at Android Central. She writes about Android-powered devices of all types and explores their usefulness in her everyday life. You can follow her on Twitter or watch her Tuesday nights on All About Android.

  • FLORENCE, there is a typo, did you mean: "Sprint, T-Mobile, and AT&T"
  • There are a few typos...
  • AT&T isn't using the universal RCS profile yet.
  • RCS alive and active on my tmo v20 works great.
  • "And it uses SMS in tandem with regular data to do it. " This is one of the reasons I left VZW. I have two iphone users on my account and they use iMessage, which uses data, and we kept going over our limit. It's no longer an issue as we are on Unlimited with TMO.
  • I could've sworn this was released together with video calling a while back to a select number of devices on their network, as part of their enhanced messaging feature. I know my Note 4, LG G4 and S7 Edge have been using it for a while now.
  • That was their own implementation of RCS, so it only worked with other T-Mobile phones. This is support for the universal profile, so it will work with phones from other carriers that use the universal profile.
  • Yeah, I was confused for a second because I've been using all the features Jerry mentioned above on T-Mobile.
  • What an odd article. TMo has been rolling out RCS since the middle of 2015. The feature debuted on the Galaxy Grand Prime out of the box and then was added to other phones at the time via software update. All T-Mo phones launched since then have come out of the box with the feature. My S6, Note 5, and S7 all had/have RCS capability. Is what was meant RCS support within Google Messenger specifically since the settings of that app is mentioned? Not trying to be a dick to the author. Genuinely hoping to understand what I'm missing. ::thumbsup::
  • That was T-Mobile's version of RCS, this is support for the universal profile.
  • That was T-Mobiles proprietary version of RCS, it only worked with some phones and some apps. This works universally across all phones, all apps who adopt it, and all carriers who adopt it.
  • I am so honored for the past transgressions of microaggressions is this the Pr VR article come one come all
  • Yes
  • So is it only going to be on Google messenger or is it going to be native with any SMS app? That's very important because I enjoy my native texting application on my Axon 7
  • That's what I'm curious about too. I'm on the nougat beta with a sprint galaxy s7e and in the default messages it has the/a option for enhanced messaging, but I have no idea if it's RCS or not.
  • Yes that is RCS but phones which don't support it out of the box in the standard messaging app will require an update
  • Where in the options are the enhanced messaging? I'm on an OP3T and I installed Google's app and I don't see this option. (On att)
  • It's in the option for... READ THE DAMN ARTICLE.
  • It will work for any texting app that adopts the open standard. Which is primarily Google's app for now.
  • I'm still curious how RCS will interact with Google Voice and Hangouts. I use my GV number as my primary number and use Hangouts for SMS (via GV) and of course Hangouts messages.
  • I'm a Spring subscriber
  • Did AC fire the copy editor? Or was there office wide amnesia regarding F7?
  • I've got RCS active on "Spring[t]", it would be interesting to see if we could get cross carrier RCS working.
  • As long as every carrier adopts this open standard, it should work cross carrier.
  • I don't like when someone knows I read their texts, yeah I'm that guy
  • We need to get the rest of the people like us and rise up against RCS.
  • If you have t-shirts I'll buy one and wear it proudly.
  • I'm that way too. But you'll be able to turn off read receipts. Globally for sure. Hopefully they'll take a note from the iOS 10 rollout where enabling read receipts for individual contacts became possible. No way I am ever going to let everyone see if I received and read their texts.
  • +1
    Yeah no.
  • I wonder if I have it on my T-Mobile Samsung Galaxy s7?
  • I sure hope so, I look forward to it on my pixel xl
  • This could spell the end for the iPhone. Okay not really, but having made the switch recently after much researching I can say this, iMessage is BY FAR the best SMS client you'll ever use. ...because 90% of the people you text with are on iMessage too, so you can text videos and ten or twenty photos in one message. You can text an ebook in .pdf to a friend, or documents or whatever. Before I even got my Android phone tuned in I said iMessage was the one thing that could keep Apple alive when a few more people realize a $900 iPhone 7 has half the processing power of a $300 Honor 8. Setting and locking the SMS client as one that was capable of all the things SMS can't do was brilliant. The best idea the "made in China, designed in California" iPhone team ever had - EVER. I love the fact that my Android phone can... just do tons of things my iPhone couldn't. I love the freedom of choice I have. But I'm telling you going back to SMS... I kept having flashbacks of T9 texting with a dialer pad and not being able to go over 160 characters or so. As it is right now, our SMS clients seem a little more advanced than that. But you dig down and they really are that outdated. Developers have just learned to put pretty clothes on a ****. I do some consulting work in intellectual property and privacy protection. Trust me you are not more secure with a phone spewing out SMS messages as you drive around than you are with internet backed messaging. You barely have to know how to be discreet to be more private with an internet message client.
  • RCS is still probably not going to be as robust as iMessage, and we have to deal with the agonizingly slow rollout and unanswered questions - will some devices not support it right away? Will some apps work, and not others? Will most people even know what RCS is? 90% of people are not on iMessage. iPhones do not make up nearly that much of the market. Also, the Honor 8 does not come anywhere near the iPhone 7's processing power.
  • HEY! BELL! IM TALKIN TO YOU! HURRY UP! I'm only a little upset, as I literally just switched from Rogers to Bell only to discover that this is coming out on Rogers first.
  • RCS may be a more robust messaging service than SMS, but it's not more secure. I'll continue using iMessage until something comes along that offers full end to end encryption.
  • Are you messaging nuclear launch codes? Didn't think so. You do need encryption. Pretty much nobody does. Take off your tinfoil hat.
  • LMAO 😂😂😂 that was funny
  • So you're an expert on the needs of other people that you've never met? That's cool. I bet you're really smart.
  • I just want RCS to be able to send better photos and video. That is my biggest gripe with SMS and why I was hoping Allo would take off like iMessage. Of course that didn't happen
  • It should allow the sending of media files up to 10megabytes. Probably not as nice as iMessage,but it will work fine for any pictures or 30 second long videos.