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Verizon Pledges Support For RCS, Rollout Will Begin Later This Year

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Following T-Mobile and AT&T, Verizon has now jumped on the RCS (Rich Communication Services) bandwagon. The Big Red on Tuesday announced that it’s working with Google to enable RCS for all its Android customers in the US starting next year. The move will see the Messages by Google app coming pre-installed as the default messaging app on all Verizon Android devices. Users of the company’s Message+ app will also get full access to RCS features by the end of this year.

Google has been long working on making RCS ubiquitous on Android smartphones in the US. However, carriers were slow to adopt the new messaging standard. The half-hearted support from the carriers led to nowhere. Google eventually had to take matters into its own hands and those efforts are now starting to come to fruition.

In March this year, T-Mobile announced that it’ll switch to RCS as the default messaging service on its Android devices by the end of this year. AT&T followed last month. Verizon is now joining the two wireless giants as well.

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Verizon finally jumps on the RCS bandwagon

RCS, if you don’t already know, is an advanced messaging technology that will replace the traditional messaging system, SMS, on mobile devices. The new standard has a lot of advantages over SMS. It offers all modern messaging features that you can find in apps like WhatsApp, Telegram, and others. RCS has no character limits and can send larger files. You also get features like typing indicators, read receipts, group chats, and end-to-end encryption.

But unlike SMS, RCS requires mobile data or a Wi-Fi connection to work. Both the recipient as well as the sender need to have their device connected to the internet. If either party is offline, the message will be held back until they reconnect. In such cases, the sender can opt to send the message via SMS so conversations aren’t interrupted, though that will mean missing out on all those modern features.

Moreover, both parties also need to have RCS enabled on their device. Otherwise, messages will be delivered via SMS. Quite clearly, support from all wireless carriers is key to making RCS truly accessible for everyone. With Verizon now pledging its support, we are now closer than ever to real interoperability on all networks.

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According to GSMA, RCS currently has more than 444 million monthly active users in 60 countries across the globe. Apple, however, has yet to make a peep about whether it plans to support RCS on iPhones. If the Cupertino giant comes onboard too, cross-platform messaging on mobile devices will become all the more convenient and faster. For the time being, it’s limited to Android devices only.