National carrier Verizon stands in stark contrast to the other three major wireless carriers in the United States in that it has yet to say anything about Rich Communication Services. The wireless operator ignored several queries from mobile news outlet FierceWireless and is still maintaining radio silence on RCS, even as other carriers move toward a new version of the RCS standard that would add on new features and make the standard more ubiquitous than ever before. Left without RCS for now, Verizon customers can get similar features from dedicated messaging apps that handle messaging and other functions via a data connection, such as Facebook Messenger and WeChat.
RCS progress in the industry has been moving at a steady pace in the past couple of years. The standard was not terribly popular until 2016 when Google backed it and created an official client for it, being Android Messages, that was compatible with almost all Android devices and could even be included as a pack-in app, making it easy for carriers to support the burgeoning standard. T-Mobile was on board before that point, starting to roll out RCS in compatible apps and devices back in 2015. Sprint partnered directly with Google from the 2016 push onward and has since helped the standard spread. Like T-Mobile, RCS is now an included functionality on all Android smartphones the carrier sells. AT&T, meanwhile, has had RCS around as "Advanced Messaging" on select Samsung and LG phones since 2015 and has kept up with the growth of the standard since.
For the uninitiated, RCS is a messaging standard that combines 2G, 3G, and 4G networking to create a messaging platform that is as versatile and lightweight as SMS, for the most part, but with a large number of extra features. RCS messaging apps, for example, are compatible with read receipts, message timestamps, and larger file transfers than in the MMS standard that has existed alongside SMS on almost all consumer cell phones since its inception in the 2000s. The new version of RCS that's coming out now, the GSMA's Universal Profile, supports file transfers up to 100MB, along with telling users when the other party is typing, among other features. Naturally, it's also faster and leaner than the currently popular flavor of RCS.