T-Mobile now supports cross-carrier RCS messaging

The rollout of Rich Communication Services (RCS) in the US and much of the world has been a slow affair. However, the next-generation replacement for SMS and MMS messaging just got a much-needed boost from T-Mobile and Google. The companies say they’ve partnered to make RCS messaging available to all T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile customers.

The messaging standard is meant to be the successor to SMS, but its rollout has been slow and messy. Many carriers T-Mobile included began supporting RCS years ago, but it generally only worked between subscribers of the same phone carrier and often only while they were using a specific carrier-made app, meaning it’s been basically useless.

Today’s launch gets us a lot closer to a world where RCS just works. T-Mobile is supporting RCS Universal Profile 1.0, which is the version that’s supposed to enable cross-carrier messaging (once other carriers support it). Carriers have been promising this for a long time since 2017 but existing support has been limited and has come in incremental spurts.

In the US, the largest RCS rollout so far has come thanks to Google, which has started to just turn the feature on for some Messages users by relying on its own RCS system. T-Mobile support should mean that a lot more people will now be capable of sending a receiving those messages, but the big change won’t come until Verizon and AT&T enable cross-carrier RCS support, too.

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