Google and T-Mobile join up to make RCS support work better across carriers
The rollout of RCS support in the US has been pretty messy. Back in November, Google took matters into its own hands and enabled RCS support for everyone in the US using the Messages app. That was a big step, but it didn’t solve all the problems. Today, Google and T-Mobile announced a joint effort that makes RCS work better across carriers.
T-Mobile has been one of the better US carriers when it comes to supporting RCS. Before today, RCS was supported between T-Mobile branded devices. However, if a T-Mobile user sent a message to someone who was not on T-Mobile, there was no RCS support. Starting today, any T-Mobile user sending a message to a user of any other carrier will enjoy the benefits of RCS.
There is some small print for the situation: this only applies to Android devices and the non-T-Mobile user must be using the Google Messages app. The T-Mobile user can choose the SMS app of their choice (assuming it supports RCS), but the receiver must be using Google’s app. Of course, if both people were using the Messages app before, RCS was already supported.
This announcement is a big deal, though, because a lot of people don’t go out of their way to change the default SMS app. For example, anyone that buys a Samsung phone from T-Mobile will be using the Samsung Messaging app. Unless you buy a Google Pixel phone from T-Mobile, the default SMS app is likely from the phone manufacturer. Relying on the receiver to use Google Messages still means people have to go out of their way to change the default SMS app, but now there’s no pressure on the T-Mobile users.
T-Mobile points out that it is the “first in the world to implement a full standards-based RCS Universal Profile 1.0 interconnect with Google’s Messages service. ” Hopefully, more carriers are ready to jump on board.