Rich Communication Services (better known as RCS) is the latest and greatest in communication protocols. Unlike messaging apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, RCS is supposed to replace old-school SMS for carriers. Google has been leading the charge, but carriers are unsurprisingly slow to get on board. Sprint was the first major US carrier to support RCS Universal Profile and adopt the Android Messages app. T-Mobile announced they will launch support in Q2 2018.
Android OEMs including Huawei and Samsung have announced support for RCS messaging, but carriers play a big part as well. The two largest carriers in the U.S., AT&T and Verizon, have said they will support the new protocol eventually, but they’ve been pretty quiet about their plans. We will only see the benefit of this new protocol when all carriers are supporting the protocol. T-Mobile says customer will receive a software update in Q2 to enable RCS Universal Profile.
Benefits of the new protocol include read message receipts, typing notifications, high-quality attachments, and better group messaging. It essentially brings the outdated SMS standard up to speed with modern messaging apps. The nice thing about RCS is it won’t require users to download special messaging apps. Once all carriers support the new protocol, it will work just like SMS does now. A lot of people want an iMessage alternative on Android. RCS might be the best solution.