Bell has announced it’s launching Advanced Messaging, an integrated Rich Communications Services (RCS) messaging experience.
RCS is a next-generation SMS protocol that adds features that were previously only available in over-the-top messaging apps like WhatsApp, such as read notifications and high-resolution photo sharing. Bell is the second major carrier to launch RCS messaging after Rogers and its sub-brand Fido debuted RCS support in December 2016.
Advanced Messaging will be available to Bell customers who have the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+, as well as the upcoming Samsung Note 8. Owners of these phones will also have to be in an Advanced Messaging coverage area, which is the same as its VoLTE coverage areas. Bell says more smartphones will be supported in the future.
Bell says Advanced Messaging offers its customers the following features:
Enhanced delivery notifications — shows the user when messages are sent, received, read, as well as when the other person is typing
File transfers — supports higher-resolution pictures, longer videos and additional file types, such as PDF, XLS and ZIP files.
Longer messages and group chat — support for messages of up to 8,000 characters and group chats that contain up to 100 participants
One inbox for messaging and conversation history — Advanced Messaging, SMS and MMS messages are all organized in one designated location
“As the first integrated RCS product available in Canada, Bell Advanced Messaging takes the standard mobile carrier messaging experience to the next level with powerful new features like group chat, high-res photo sharing, read receipts and much more,” said Nauby Jacob, Bell’s vice president of products and services in a press release.
“We’re proud to partner with Samsung to bring our customers this Canadian first on the country’s fastest ranked mobile network and the first in North America to offer full Quad Band LTE data speeds.”
“We are committed to helping accelerate and expand advanced messaging through our infrastructure and services, and thrilled to deliver this experience to our Galaxy Note8, Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ customers through Bell,” said Paul Brannen, COO and EVP of Mobile Devices for Samsung Canada.
For more information on the state of RCS in Canada, find our explainer here.
Update: This article originally said a “pre-loaded app” was required to run the Advanced Messaging on the Note 8. This was an error — Bell has confirmed it’s native to the phone and no other application is required.