It looks like T-Mobile still isn’t a partner for Google’s RCS messaging standard. A flurry of social media posts seemed to indicate yesterday that a rollout was in the works, but 9to5Google dug into the situation and realized that news of the rollout stemmed from a series of misunderstandings, rather than T-Mobile actually launching the new feature.
RCS (rich communication services) has been hailed as the savior of texting — a next-generation messaging standard for sending text and pictures without the limitations that SMS currently has. You can, for instance, send messages longer than 160 characters, which is still impossible to do through SMS.
Unlike services like Facebook Messenger or iMessage, RCS requires carrier-side implementation. Google has been pushing this for the last couple years, but it’s been slow moving. So far, Sprint is the only major US carrier to have added the feature, having done so inside of Google’s Messenger app late last year.
T-Mobile does offer RCS, but the carrier uses its own standard, which means it can’t be used to message phones connected to other carriers. AT&T also offers support for RCS on some Android phones through its own Messenger app, but that’s not compatible with Google’s implementation either. And Verizon — Google’s exclusive carrier partner for the Pixel — has so far been silent on any RCS plans, Google-integrated or otherwise.
Correction February 1st, 5:50PM ET: This article initially pointed to social media posts indicating that T-Mobile was rolling out support for Google’s RCS standard; those now appear to be inaccurate. We’ve updated the article accordingly.