Verizon joins T-Mobile and AT&T in using Google Messages for RCS
The RCS dream, having RCS replace SMS across the board, has not materialized as quickly or vastly as people hyped about the technology thought it would be, but the good news is that it’s getting there. Google, as the biggest proponent of this technology, has rolled out RCS to people around the world, regardless of carrier support, through the Google Messages app, and millions of users (exactly 444 million a month across 60 countries, according to the GSMA) are texting their family, friends, and acquaintances over RCS every day. And carriers in the U.S. are getting into it as well. While their initial objective was to build a proprietary, cross-carrier app for RCS, they’ve since scrapped that and decided to just use Google’s Messages app instead. First, it was T-Mobile, and then AT&T. Now, Verizon is joining in as well.
Verizon officially announced that their network will use Google Messages for RCS on Android devices, meaning that, starting next year, all Android devices sold through Verizon will ship with Google’s Messages app pre-installed, just like phones on AT&T and T-Mobile currently do.
This also means that all Android phones sold through all major U.S. carriers are officially on Google Messages and the implementation between each carrier is made to be completely interoperable, meaning that the experience should be exactly the same no matter which carrier you’re using. Businesses will also be able to take advantage of RCS as well through an ongoing collaboration between Verizon and Google.
There are still some hurdles to RCS adoption globally, despite Google taking huge steps to bring it to to everyone. Apple, for one, still refuses to implement RCS on their smartphones, sticking instead to their proprietary iMessage solution, which is iPhone-only. The difference between RCS and iMessage lies in its interoperability, allowing it to be implemented in a similar manner as SMS is currently implemented globally, as well as being cross-platform.
If you’re using Verizon’s own Message+ app, don’t worry: Verizon is also planning on rolling out RCS to that app as well from next year onwards, and it should be fully interoperable with Google’s solution as well.