T-Mobile teams with Google to enable RCS messaging with Android users around the world


T-Mobile first began utilizing RCS way back in 2015, but when it first rolled out it was only available on a single device. Fast-forward to today and RCS on T-Mobile customers send more than 700 million RCS messages each day, and the RCS experience is about to get even bigger.

T-Mobile has teamed up with Google to implement a full standards-based RCS Universal Profile 1.0 interconnect with Google’s Messages chat. This means that T-Mo and Metro by T-Mobile customers can get RCS in the Google Messages app while chatting with other Android users around the world.

To get this feature, you’ll need an Android device that supports RCS Universal Profile 1.0. There are nearly 40 phones on T-Mobile and Metro that support the feature and T-Mobile aims to bring the feature to all RCS-enabled phones. You’ll also need to be chatting with an Android user who has the chat features enabled in the Google Messages app.

T-Mo says that customers have an RCS-capable device don’t need to do anything or download an app to get RCS features because they’re built into the phone’s messaging app.

RCS stands for Rich Communication Services and it offers an upgraded messaging experience over traditional SMS texting. These including typing indicators, read receipts, better group chatting, support for high-resolution photos, and chatting over Wi-Fi as well as mobile data.

Google has been working to expand RCS messaging to more Android users around the world in recent years. It broadly rolled out RCS in its Messages app to every Android user in the US late last year, and now with this partnership T-Mo is implementing this RCS Universal Profile 1.0 for its devices, making it so T-Mo and Metro customers can enjoy the benefits of RCS when chatting with anyone else using RCS in Google Messages without having to do anything extra.

Source: T-Mobile

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  • KenLin

    Didn’t Google bypass the carriers and implement it on their own in the US?

    • Jared Hylton

      Basically, yes.

    • mckillio

      Yes but only on their phones.

      • JiGSaW525

        No, only with phones that downloaded the Google Messaging App and carrier services update. Once you do that, essentially any Android can have RCS with Google.

      • As JiGSaW525 said, it anyone that downloaded the app and carrier services updates from the play store.

        My LeEco Le S3 phone from 3 years ago running Android 6.0 got RCS support when google announced the bypass. Surprised me as that phone gets hardly support for anything (LeEco went under years ago).

  • steveb944


  • The One

    SO, this only effects Google devices on T-Mobile’s network who don’t already have RCS enabled? Isn’t that like 0 people? I’m confused on how this is an improvement over Google’s RCS universal (U.S.A) activation last year.

    • mckillio

      Any supported phone, “nearly 40” of them, that has Google Messages on it.

    • dcmanryan

      Nope. My Pixel 3 XL still says chat features unavailable please contact your carrier. If I switch to a virtual Fi sim I can enable it instantly. T-Mobile 100% is preventing me from using it.

      • mckillio

        That’s really weird. Have you tried using the beta version of Messages? I assume you’re on the May 2020 version of Android.

        • dcmanryan

          You name it, I’ve tried it. There’s a Tmonews thread about it from 5/2019 that for some reason it won’t let me copy and paste. Google Fi uses the T-Mobile network and that’s what is so frustrating as T-Mobile says it’s not compatible with the Pixel 3 line which a bold face lie. Like I said in the previous comment, I can literally enable it in seconds by switching the sim to Fi and T-Mobile will have it turned back off by days end if I switch back.

        • That’s odd. I enabled it on my wife’s Pixel 3 not too long after RCS was announced. It has worked flawlessly ever since. We’re on TMobile as well.

        • dcmanryan

          How did you enable it? I’m assuming not through the settings on the messanger app. I’ve literally tried every method for ages and finally just gave up. I’ve talked to Google and T-Mobile and both were beyond useless.

        • The only thing I did was join the beta version. No other steps were required.

        • jonzey231

          Install carrier services then wipe cache in Messages and reboot.

          It may take an hour or two but then “Chat” should be available in Messages.

        • dcmanryan

          This method works but only temporary. By the next morning it’s back off.

        • jonzey231

          Time to burn the house down then.

          But really, that sucks. I don’t know at that point. Does the old method using the services launcher still work? Maybe give that a whirl.

      • The One

        The Pixel 3 isn’t truly supported by T-Mobile, so nothing they do will enable RCS on your device. But since you have a Pixel, it should be working through Google’s Jibe Network regardless of T-Mobile. I have the P3 and use RCS every day with my family, also using P3’s on T-Mobile’s network (powered by Jibe).

        • dcmanryan

          I’ve tried that method several times and no luck.

        • Brad Bilut

          One of my friends was having same issue on his Pixel 4 with T-Mo sim and Fi (esim). He had to factory wipe and he didn’t activate the Fi (esim) and he then had RCS like the rest of us. It seems that combo freaks out the phone or something?

        • The One

          Strange. If you’re getting the connection error, then clear cache and data and it should work.

  • dl_crash

    Hey @Alex Wagner “nearly 40 phones”? how about you just give facts in your articles? Or are you not nearly a writer yet?

    • psycho_nole

      What part do you not like about that? He literally quoted T-Mobile when he wrote “nearly 40 phones.”

  • alfonzso

    For me, RCS is a non-starter because messages are still sent in plain text.

  • Marcy Gaynes

    It would be really great if this worked on the Samsung watch.

    • HotInEER

      You can blame Samsung for that.

    • Chase Culpepper

      I agree. I Every other messaging app works w/ my watch but not Google Messages. I switched back to Textra, no RCS but works better for me.

  • InTheMuff

    I had this on my tmo note 4 years ago.
    I actually didnt like it bc it gave others to much info, they were able to keep tabs on me. (Ex. read receipts)
    So I didnt care for it

  • Deibid

    And meanwhile.. The rest of the civilised world uses whatsapp and this is a non-issue. Can’t believe Americans are still on SMS.