The saga of RCS on Android started with Google acquiring Jibe, followed by the official launch of RCS support in the Google Messenger app and its first partnership with Sprint in the USA, then another collaboration with Rogers in Canada, and now we're seeing it spread to Europe and Asia with Telenor.
Another mobile carrier, Telenor, has partnered with Google to roll out a next-gen SMS tech - this time targeting Android users in Europe and Asia. Google has been working on an upgraded SMS service for consumers.
Late past year this flavor of RCS tech was rolled out to Android hardware using the Sprint and Rogers' networks, in the U.S. and Canada - with Sprint being Google's first carrier partner in the initiative. The company enabling Google's messaging solution for their customers is a momentous step for RCS.
At its most basic, RCS lets users send higher-quality picture messages up to 10MB in size, participate in group chat, share their current location, and initiate video calls. Now, Telenor has jumped on board with Google's RCS solution in Messenger, bringing the feature to its customers across India, Thailand, and a variety of European nations (via The Keynote)... The three carriers listed in this article.
Google partnered with Sprint in the United States last November and with Rogers in Canada the following month to bring RCS to their customers.
Either way, Google remains a very, very long way away from its sought for destination of having a comprehensive competitor to iMessage baked into Android users' SMS experience out of the box.
Telenor subscribers in markets where RCS is launched will automatically get access to the new platform via a software update. Or else installing the Messenger app in future. "[The] RCS messaging implementation supports the GSMA universal profile - a standard supported by more than 58 carriers and manufacturers collectively covering a subscriber base of 4.7 billion people globally", Amir Sarhangi, Google's head of RCS, said in a statement. So its RCS play is also being hamstrung by a limited pool of compatible devices. Although SMS is the standard for mobile messaging, it's just plain text.