The first ever cross-carrier RCS interconnect in North America has been successfully completed between the US carrier Sprint and Canadian carrier Rogers. This announcement was made in a tweet by Nick Fox, Google's vice-president for Communications Products. The completion of cross-carrier RCS interconnect means that the subscribers of both operators may now use the Android Messages app to send not only messages but also images and links to each other. Fox also added that there will be more cross-carrier RCS interconnects to be completed soon, which is needed to fully realize the potential of RCS messaging. Fox also responded to a question regarding RCS support of Project Fi phones. At this point, Project Fi users cannot send messages to each other using the RCS protocol but according to Fox, Google is currently working on how Project Fi could support the said protocol. He promised that there will be future announcements regarding the said matter soon.
Rich Communications Services, or more commonly known as RCS messaging, is developed as an evolution of SMS messages. RCS messaging supports additional features like sending images and support for group chats. While there are numerous messaging apps that provide the same features that RCS messaging offers, RCS is a viable option for users who either do not want to be tied to a single messaging service or do not want to install numerous applications just to contact people.
The completion of cross-carrier RCS interconnects is just one of Google's efforts to make RCS messaging more ubiquitous. The search giant has worked with carriers around the globe to ensure widespread use of the messaging protocol. In the recent months, more carriers like Orange, Vodafone, and Deutsche Telekom have announced their intention to support RCS messaging on their networks. While carrier support is important for the success of RCS messaging, Google is also working with industry partners that could take full advantage of RCS's features. For example, Google collaborated with Virgin Trains to use RCS messaging to send scannable boarding passes to passengers and access to the station map. In addition, several smartphone manufacturers are also involved in the efforts to make RCS messaging more widespread through incorporating the Android Messages app in their devices.