Rogers says RCS is the ‘future of messaging,’ will come pre-installed on Android devices from 2018

Android Messages app

Comments

  • Craig Cook

    I still have no idea if this is available to me. I’m not liking this rollout at all.

    • Sathira Katugaha

      apparently this was just a pledge message but actual rcs rolls out mid-april

    • Igor Bonifacic

      It’s available.

      The issue is that a lot of conditions need to be met before you actually see the benefits of RCS. Both users need to be on Rogers or Fido (or Sprint), both need to be on Android devices and both need to be using Google Messenger.

    • fred

      there are many other providers worlwide supporting RCS beside the 3 you mentioned

    • Igor Bonifacic

      The only three carriers that currently support RCS texting based on the GSMA’s new Universal Profile specification are Rogers, Fido and Sprint. Other carriers that have RCS enabled on their networks support the older Joyn standard.

    • fred

      it’s pretty much the same thing, shouldn’t it be interoperable?

    • Thomas Milne

      Both users need an application installed that supports it like Google Messenger. Both users also have to be on a network that support it like Srpint or Rogers.

    • matus201

      Same. People were saying months ago that they received a notification in Google Messenger that “advanced messaging” is available. I have never received anything.

  • Theo

    Does this still require data like imessage? How is this different from Facebook messenger, what’s app, or Google hangouts?

    • meohmymy

      I’m pretty sure you don’t need a separate data plan and that will be the selling feature against messenger and whatsapp, etc Although if they do roll it out Facebook and Whatsapp might have a good case against them for prioritizing it over their apps

    • I think this is very unclear and on previous MobileSyrup stories people in the comments said it was required. So I’m unclear, and it’s probably up to the carriers. I’d like some clarity on this.

    • Igor Bonifacic

      I made it pretty clear in our original article on the roll out. “Like iMessage, RCS uses a smartphone user’s data or Wi-Fi connection to deliver its feature set.”

    • Igor Bonifacic

      The selling point is that it’s supposed to “just work” like iMessage. In an ideal world, all the carriers will support RCS and you’ll be able to hop into the default messaging client that comes with your smartphone and take advantage of RCS’s iMessage-like features. Of course, the reality is currently far from that, and it may take several years before it works anywhere as close as good as iMessage.

    • fred

      iMessage doesn’t just work. It works only between Apple device, which is a very small minority of phones/PCs worldwide.

      In an ideal world, we would drop SMS, RCS, iMessage, and all other proprietary, vendor locked-in, or protocols depending on having a cell phone carrier or number.

    • Correction : RCS is an open standard, and is not locked in to any particular vendor. Google seems to have been the first to implement this standard in a commercial product, but anyone can, and I sincerely hope other vendors (particularly Apple) adopt it.

    • Shafiq

      Windows 10 Mobile has had this feature since mid-2015.

    • fred

      I never said RCS is proprietary. iMEssage is.
      But it still suck because it is locked to cell phone providers. Will never work on PCs and non-cellular tablet. Therefore it is doomed to fail on day 1.

    • Thomas Milne

      The difference is that you do not need a secondary service to supliment your primary service.

    • fred

      you do, otherwise you can only communicate with cell phones

    • Thomas Milne

      Singing up to Facebook after signing up for a cellular service makes Facebook a secondary service. Wanting the most from your primary is nothing wrong.

    • fred

      You get that wrong. Having to use SMS/RCS when you already have to use something else to reach users not on their phone means you should drop SMS/RCS

    • Thomas Milne

      Most people do not have data access over the world. A communication protocol that is backwards compatible is a much better solution. Identification numbers are used in every communication protocol so I don’t know what you are getting at about talking to people not numbers and who said that RCS is only limited to mobile devices. It is connected to a number but numbers are not limited to devices.

    • fred

      OK then. You send me an SMS. How do I reply from my PC? I have a fast Gbps Internet but you are telling me it’s not good enough to reply to your 25 bytes message?
      The same applies to RCS. There is nothing wrong with ID numbers (although I think alphanumeric are better solutions) but phone numbers are not free, are location-based and are owned by carriers. They are the worst possible ID you can find.

    • fred

      You are not backward compatible when you can’t communicate with PCs.

    • fred

      Your cell phone number can’t be your instant messaging identifier.

      1. Not everybody has one
      2. Some people have more than one
      3. You don’t want to reach a number you want to reach a person, no matter if that person is on his/her phone at the moment.
      4. Forcing others to reply to you on their tiny phone when they have access to a real PC keyboard is rude.

    • Igor Bonifacic

      Yes, you need a data plan to take full advantages of RCS’s features. If you don’t have a data plan, or if all the conditions needed to support RCS aren’t present, then the protocol defaults to regular old SMS messaging.

      The difference is that the messaging infrastructure needed to support RCS is maintained by the carriers, not companies like Facebook and Google.

  • simphf

    So it’s not a replacement. It’s an app, and only on one platform. Great.

    • It’s not an app, it’s a protocol. Apple can put it in iMessage. And anyone is free to add it to their SMS app. So far only Google has, as far as I know.

    • For now it’s only on one platform, but what makes it great is that it is an open standard. RCS isn’t a solution to the problem of IM (at least, no more than WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, BBM, iMessage, etc. are). Rather, it’s the solution to contact fragmentation. No longer do you have a vastly different experience depending on whom you contact, whether they have an iPhone or an Android device, whether they have a Facebook or a Google account, or whether they still use BBM… Any manufacturer can implement this standard, and the experience will be uniform.

    • Shafiq

      Two platforms, actually.

    • Oh, which platform (other than Google Messenger for Android) is RCS on? 🙂

    • Stephen B Morris

      Doesn’t Hangouts do this too?

    • I don’t think so. Hangouts does IM but not using RCS. Its predecessor, Google Talk, used XMPP, which is another open standard, but the latest incarnation of Hangouts uses its own, proprietary IM protocol, like BBM or iMessage.

    • fred

      It’s still xmpp internally but with some proprietary extensions for advanced features.
      Despite being proprietary, Hangouts works on any platform unlike iMessage. And I am not sure if BBM works on PCs, Hangouts does.

    • Can you communicate with Hangouts user from any XMPP-compliant client?

    • fred

      yes

    • From the XMPP org themselves: “Hangouts does not interoperate with federated XMPP clients. Users appear as visible, but messages from federated contacts are lost…”

    • fred

      You did’t get what that sentence means.
      You can communicate with Hangouts users from any XMPP-compliant client, however you must use a Google account with that client.

    • I may have. Thank you for clarifying, Fred.

    • Not for you

      Like it or not, Hangouts is dead. Google has effectively admitted as such by repositioning it as an “Enterprise” product.

    • fred

      Enterprise or home user I don’t really care it still works fine
      although not shipping it by default in new Android device will be a huge blow.

      I don’t understand their strategy Allo and Duo both combined suck more than hangouts. It’s as if they really wanted to loose.

    • Shafiq

      Windows 10 Mobile has had this feature since mid-2015.

  • Bob Loblaw

    Should be titled “Rogers finds new way to fvck Canadian customers”

    • I know it’s your thing to rag on Rogers. But what is the negative here? Or is it just that you are sure they will be able to use this to increases charges? Because I really like the idea of RCS and am interested to see what happens.

  • letsGetItRight

    Stupid Rogers, it’s been around for years cross platforms, it’s called WhatsApp!!

    • Thomas Milne

      So a secondary service to supliment your primary service?

    • fred

      what primary service? You are still using SMS?

    • Thomas Milne

      You need to sign up to Whatsapp. A secondary service.

    • fred

      You don’t need whatsapp. There are other alternatives.
      Chances are you’ll have/want at least a Facebook and/or Gmail account. Both have an integrated messaging solution.

      SMS/RCS is the secondary service. The primary one is the one you can actually use.

    • Thomas Milne

      Over data and RCS has SMS as backup so you are still able to communicate in more locations over the world.

    • fred

      Again, wrong because again you can’t communicate with PCs.
      RCS/SMS only advantage is for the carrier. They can bill you for each message sent.

      Not everybody has a data plan. But not everybody has unlimited SMS either. By the time RCS gets some acceptance, everybody will have a data plan anyways.

    • Thomas Milne

      But you can communicate with PC’s.

    • fred

      You can’t.

    • Thomas Milne

      I SMS to my PC all the time.

    • fred

      With a cellular modem?

    • fred

      You can send emails over SMS even without a data plan. So legacy SMS support is not required.

  • I relly the savings of Freedom Mobile (formerly Wind). But I suspect the low price will slow their adoption of RCS. It’s the price I pay.

  • For now, Fido, Rogers and Sprint customers can only use RCS messaging with each other, but the platform is set to expand rapidly with Bell and Telus signing on as supporters of Universal Profile along with several major U.S. carriers.

    I thought one of the US carriers already had it implemented? Wasn’t it AT&T? Or is that just a planned role out and so we have to wait for that? They seem to already have help pages for it.

    • Igor Bonifacic

      Sprint was the first to roll out RCS, as Rose notes in the article. “The carrier was the first in Canada to launch an Advanced Messaging service based on GSMA’s Universal Profile industry standard and the second worldwide after Sprint.”

  • fred

    “Android customers have been looking for a similar service to Apple’s iMessage”

    You mean a legacy protocol relying on legacy phone numbers as an identifier, and which is closed an available on a single platform from a single vendor?

    thanks, but no thanks

    • Brad Fortin

      “Similar to”, not “identical to”.

    • fred

      So in that case it already exists. Google Hangouts/Talk is there.
      Other than that the last remaining differences between the two solutions are what I highlighted.

    • Brad Fortin

      It doesn’t already exist or else articles like this wouldn’t exist. Hangouts can handle part of what iMessage can handle but it’s not all there yet.

      While iMessage is single-vendor it’s not single-platform as it works on mobiles, wearables, and desktops/laptops.

      However I think you’re missing the point, which is that this will finally allow iMessage-like features within standard messaging apps instead of relying on proprietary platforms.

    • fred

      Article like this exist because carriers want to be able to continue to bill for messages separately from data.
      Hangouts can do all what matters from iMessage, and a lot more.

      iMessage doesn’t fully work on wearables, tablets and Macs, only a subset does. They say the advantage of iMessage is that it can fall back to SMS. A desktop can’t fall back to SMS without a cellular modem.

      It won’t be a standard messaging app as long as it can’t run on a PC.

    • Brad Fortin

      Most carriers offer unlimited messages with their plans, so for most people being billed for messages isn’t really a thing, although I agree with the idea that SMS should be free considering how it works.

      Hangouts can do a lot of things but it doesn’t have feature parity with iMessage and won’t until it can synchronize all the messages across multiple platforms. You seem pretty vague about the “and a lot more” claim, so unless you can provide some examples I’m going to have to dismiss it.

      When iMessage needs to fall back to SMS it does so using the iPhone, but as long as you have an iPhone connected to your Apple account you can use the SMS functionality from a Mac, iPad, or Watch.

      But the point isn’t that you can use SMS *or* iMessage, it’s that you can do *both* from the same app without having to manage it or choose which one to use, and then switch to another platform like the Mac and do the same thing, including sending SMS.

      Also, why is running on a one specific platform a requirement? Seems like a No True Scotsman to me.

    • fred

      Most carriers have plans which do not include SMS. Just because your plan include SMS doesn’t mean it’s the case for everyone.

      It is especially true in other countries. And anyways, most carriers do not include international SMS. So SMS is not a solution.
      Needing to have 2 devices to send a simple message suck, period. You shouldn’t even bring that as an option.
      Hangouts has feature parity with iMessage (including synchronizing messages between devices) and can do much more. Here are just a few obvious examples:

      -Work on any internet connected device. Not specific to a vendor.
      -No cellular radio requried, no need to have a second device.
      -Not limited to the very few people with an Apple device. Nobody only have all-Apple friends.
      -Hangouts can do video chats, phone calls over IP
      -Hangouts can share desktop and is useful for presentations
      -Hangouts works (at least partially, now, unfortunately) with 3rd party clients

    • Brad Fortin

      Most carrier plans here in Canada include SMS. I know, I sell them, and just about the only ones that don’t include unlimited SMS are the pay-per-use prepaid plans. Bell, Rogers, Telus, Fido, Koodo, Virgin, Solo, PC Mobile, etc, every single plan includes unlimited SMS.

      SMS is a great solution for people who don’t need to send messages internationally.

      You don’t need 2 devices to send a message over iMessage. Where are you getting that idea?

      iMessage doesn’t need a cellular radio to work.

      Apple has over 1 billion active users, mostly in developed countries. That’s about as many users as most popular messaging services. I wouldn’t consider that “limited”, nor would that require “all-Apple friends”. And since ~90% of Apple users own an iPhone that means ~90% will have access to SMS which means they’re not limited to “all-Apple friends”.

      FaceTime uses the same account as iMessage, and every platform that can handle iMessage can handle some form of FaceTime, so video chats and phone calls over IP work.

      iMessage on the Mac also allows sharing of the desktop. Did you not read up on the capabilities of iMessage before making your comment?

    • fred

      Beside prepaid plans, you forget data-only plans. And there is a world outside Canada.
      SMS suck for international communication, of course, but it’s also a crappy solution even in Canada. It was OK in the 90s, but it’s more than time to move on.

      You need 2 devices to send a message over iMessage if you want to contact someone over SMS from your Mac. You need both an iPhone and a Mac. iMessage has reduced functionality if you don’t have a cellular radio. Even if you connect a cellular radio on your Mac, I am not even sure iMessage can use it.
      Even if Apple had 50 billion users, it doesn’t matter. The protocol is designed so that you will never be able to reach all your contacts because Apple want it to be exclusive to its products.

    • fred

      Also why do you say iMessage works on wearables (plupral)? Is there more than one wearable device that can send an iMessage without having to piggy back on an iPhone? Is even the Apple watch able to send iMessage on its own?

    • Brad Fortin

      I say wearables (plural) like I say mobiles (plural) and desktops/laptops (plural) because there’s multiple models in each category.

      The Apple Watch can use iMessage without being connected to an iPhone, yes. It has WiFi to transmit iMessages and FaceTime Audio calls (as well as check weather, etc).

    • fred

      OK so in short it works on iPhones and cellular iPads.
      On Apple Watches and Macs, a subset of iMessage works. Unless you can connect a cellular USB modem to a Mac (with a dongle of course) to use the full functionality?

    • Brad Fortin

      Any Mac, Apple Watch, or iPad that uses the same Apple ID as an iPhone can use the SMS capability of that iPhone, even when not directly connected or on the same network. For example, I can forget my iPhone at work but still send SMS from my Mac at home (the Mac will even tell you when the SMS fails to send and offer to retry, like the iPhone would). However if the iPhone dies or is unreachable the other devices can’t fall back to SMS until the iPhone is available again. So you’re half-right, without an iPhone on the same Apple ID there isn’t SMS capability, but as soon as that iPhone is on the same Apple ID then all other Apple devices on that ID can use the SMS capability (kind of like how if you pair Airpods to one Apple ID-connected device they’ll be paired to all devices connected to that Apple ID).

      Also, most cellular tablets (iPads, Galaxy Tabs, Xperia tablets, etc) often have their SIM functionality limited to data, no calls or SMS.

    • fred

      Most cellular tablets (galaxy, Xperia) can send SMS just fine.

      That iMessage requires both an iPhone and a Mac running OS x to send a message to those without an iDevice is enough to say that iMessage sucks.

    • Brad Fortin

      Why? The iPhone has 100% of iMessage functionality and the Mac has 90% of iMessage functionality. The iPhone outsells the Mac by ~10:1 which means ~90% of iMessage users don’t own a Mac, and 90% of iMessage users get 100% functionality.

      Even if someone happens to own a Mac without owning an iPhone they still get every iMessage feature except the “send as SMS when iMessage fails” feature that the iPhone gets, something literally nobody expects a Mac to be able to do without a corresponding phone. That single reason is enough to make you think it sucks? Hahahahahaha.

    • fred

      Yes it is. You can’t have it both ways.
      -You say that iMessage is great because you can reach people without iDevices (using SMS)
      -You say iMessage is also great because it works on Macs

      However you can’t reach people without iDevices from your Mac using iMessage. So yes, this is a non-solution, people shouldn’t even waste time installing it on their computer.

      It’s the default SMS client on the iPhone so I get that some people is using it, however nobody should rely on it for more than its SMS function. And as I said, SMS is outdated and there is no reason to use it.

  • fred

    RCS is doomed to fail since it can only work on cell phones.

    • Thomas Milne

      Why do you think that it will only work on cell phones?

    • fred

      Duh, because it requires a cell phone number?
      OK it will also work on cellular tablets but it will miss all non-cellular PCs and tablets. That’s a LOT of devices.

    • Thomas Milne

      You keep saying it is limited to cellular. Why would you think that?

    • fred

      Because everything I’ve read so far including this article points to that. It’s meant to replace SMS. It uses cell phone numbers as ID. It’s controller by wireless carriers. It’s developed by a wireless carriers association.

      I don’t see even a single bit of a clue that would lead to the possibility of RCS to work without a cell phone plan and radio.

    • Thomas Milne

      So TextPlus should not work right now over SMS?

    • fred

      TextPlus is a hack. The PC sends the message to their server, and they must be connected to the cellular network at some point. You can’t just launch your own SMS server like you can launch your own Email server.

      They give you free SMS to US and Canada only. Not to other countries. And all that is being operated at loss, hoping to sell you expensive VoIP calls and make some profit.
      Can you even get a Canadian number with that company?

      Again, go read the spec. You will see they couldn’t care less about PCs. They only care about phones.

    • Thomas Milne

      You are the one that keeps making the claim. You need to cite your sources.

      Also it seems that you are lacking some understanding in procurement of numbers and yes you can get a Canadian DID from TextPlus and others. One can even buy their own number. Buying an OBI device and using a SIP service is cheap and feature rich.

    • fred

      You just said it, BUY a number.
      Why would I want to PAY for a messaging ID? Sounds like the worst idea.

      My source is their spec. Go read it. Mobilesyrup doesn’t like when I post links.

    • Thomas Milne


      TextPlus is free there is no buying. Buying your own number and running your own phone service is a choice many take to avoid using others companies like TextPlus and Facebook as it is a cheap way to buy a product (service really) and not be the product.

      I have read the information on RCS and see no limitations to cellular networks. Infact near the top of the wiki it states telecom network.

    • fred

      You didn’t read the right document. It’s a PDF file, not a wiki. It’s on the GSMA web site, it’s called “universal profile”.

      When you buy your own phone number you don’t run your own service. In fact you don’t buy your number, you rent it. Your SIP provider owns it and operates it.

      As I said, TextPlus looses money on SMS and hopes to profit from calls. It’s not viable in the long run if nobody calls.

      What has more future is SMS to email gateways. So even those without a data plan can reach the internet-connected world.

    • Thomas Milne

      You can copy paste the text from the document. I have the document. I cited wiki for its synopsis.

      Service ≠ provider.

    • fred

      You know that it is published by the GSMA, a MOBILE phone alliance, right?

    • fred

      but right in the very first section (1.1) of the document, you can read ”

      Universal Profile technical specification to describe a prioritized set of features which Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) can launch.”

      You see they talk about MOBILE NETWORKS. That’s what this standard is about. MOBILE.

    • Thomas Milne

      You should really read the entire sentence.

    • fred

      Done. You are still wrong

    • Thomas Milne

      What do you mean done? You did not post the entire sentence. Try it without abbreviations.

    • fred

      I read the entire sentence. The whole document refers to mobile networks. You are blind if you don’t get it.

    • Thomas Milne

      You still did not edit your post to show the entire sentence.

      I think I am done. Read section 19.

    • fred

      Are you trolling? Section 19 talks about the primary device with the primary SIM card.
      You can’t register a RCS account without a SIM card. You can’t do that on a PC (unless you have a cellular modem of course).
      Secondary devices are still dependent of your phone carrier.

    • Thomas Milne

      “fred • 11 hours ago
      RCS is doomed to fail since it can only work on cell phones.”

      Please keep your arguments on point.

    • fred

      You are a nitpicker. I always said it could work on any device with a SIM card (PC/tablet).

      It is also planned to piggy back on the PHONE (the primary device). But if you don’t have any plan with a MOBILE PHONE carrier you won’t be able to use it at all. It’s an artificial limitation, I should be able to communicate FOR FREE from my internet connected PC.

    • Thomas Milne

      Just like TextPlus and the other free services that use SMS piggy backs on a mobile pho, or wait. They don’t. RCS like SMS uses the provider number to create the account. You do not have to have the primary device.

    • fred

      Yes you need the primary device. Otherwise how do you create the account?
      TextPlus works only on iOS and Android.

    • Thomas Milne

      Why do you think that you have to make an account to access RCS and SMS?

    • fred

      For SMS, the account is created when you create your mobile phone account with the carrier.
      For RCS, it seems according to the spec that you can “create” an account on a primary device (with a SIM card) and then somehow “login” to that account on a non-SIM device. Of course, the carrier must allow you to do so.

      Let’s put it this way: RCS is an open standard. The spec is available. You say it works on PCs without having to piggy back on a cell phone plan. Therefore, where can I download a PC RCS application and start using it?

    • schultzycom

      Really Fred, how do you think iMessage works. Since this is a mobile service, I would assume you would need a phone. Are you wanting to message other users. Its called Instant Messaging. I gues not sure why you are comp[laining about needing a cell plan to use this service, since it is designed for cellular communication. That is like complaining why your car cannot fly when there are airplanes that can. It makes no sense.

    • fred

      I understand perfectly. I think it’s a MISTAKE to design a messaging protocol for phones only. I criticize the fact that it is a mobile service.

      If you can make a car fly for the same price than a car that can’t, you would be stupid not to make it fly, isn’t it?

    • fred

      Also textplus doesn’t work on PCs. Only Android and iOS.

    • fred

      Read the spec, you will see it is limited to cellular devices.

  • TheCuddlyKoala

    Another iMessage wannabe?

    • Chug that haterade

      Apple will do RCS right…

  • John W

    Hopefully other carriers won’t be far behind in adopting this.

  • Chug that haterade

    So essentially BBM?

  • Kenjuta

    still waiting for Fido to enable it on my account 🙁

    • Thomas Milne

      Both users have to be using an RCS enabled Messenger on an enabled network.

  • Rimtu Kahn

    I don’t quite agree with that, RCS is going backward when we already have whatsapp, and now Allo. Both of these are ad free, superior multimedia phone number based messaging platform that also allows end-to-end encryption. RCS since based on SMS will not have encryption AFAIK. I don’t think the comparison to iMessage makes sense. Hangouts is more comparable to iMessage, as all it does is combine multimedia messaging ( using data) and text messaging (using SMS) into a single platform. I in fact find it confusing as sometimes when I intended to send SMS for a more instant delivery, I was instead sending an IM which required to have data connectivity.
    At any rate, sell it all you want but until the whole world is on RCS, I don’t see it catching on. Allo is great but not a lot of people are flicking to it, because it’s hard to find or get peope you know to get on it.

    • Thomas Milne

      Until the world is all on a data connection IM will never catch on. You see what I did there?

  • Brad Fortin

    “Android customers have been looking for a similar service to Apple’s iMessage, which didn’t exist until now.”

    RCS started in 2007 and was finally released in 2012, 5 years ago. RCS started before iMessage, but Rogers chose to wait until now to do anything about it.

  • Stephen Mangoff

    Can you reach out and find out if this includes Tbaytel in Thunder Bay that uses Roger’s network?

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