Rich Communication Services: Everything You Need To Know, And A 6-Step Guide To Enable RCS

What does RCS stand for?

RCS stands for Rich Communication Services.

What Is RCS Messaging?

It is a new messaging protocol whose primary objective is to replace the decades-old SMS and MMS protocols for a more cohesive messaging experience in today’s world of smartphones.

It does so by bringing a major feature-rich overhaul to your primary SMS app.

If this was a bit too technical for you, here’s the easiest possible way to describe it: it is the younger, smarter and more tech-savvy brother of SMS and MMS.

History of SMS and RCS

The concept of SMS was brought up in 1992 and popularized by 2002. Since then, texting has become the most popular form of digital interaction globally.

Today, billions of text messages are sent everyday worldwide. But a large portion of these users has shifted from using SMS and MMS to using Instant Messaging services like Messenger, WhatsApp, iMessage, and a plethora of other apps because of all the limitations of using a three-decades-old system.

The primary goal of RCS is to solve this exact problem: to modernize the design of SMS to the current world standards, making it much more similar to Instant Messaging services than to SMS.

RCS vs SMS: Why is RCS better than SMS?

In the future, Rich Communication Services (RCS) are intended to take the role of SMS as the standard native text messaging service for all phones.

RCS was created to enhance and modernize communication while SMS was created for straightforward communication.

For customers and consumers, RCS has a number of benefits over SMS:

  • group chat features
  • a more secure alternative to the standard chat apps
  • Playback of excellent audio and video
  • Send more gifs and emojis

RCS vs Whatsapp, Telegram

The biggest advantage RCS holds over other Instant Messaging apps is the convenience factor of having the messaging app preinstalled on every single smartphone, making it available to anyone who owns a modern smartphone. On the other hand, any other Instant Messaging Service like WhatsApp or Telegram has to be manually installed from their respective App stores.

Moreover, RCS can simply switch to SMS in the absence of internet connectivity, whereas internet connection is a requirement for WhatsApp and other apps.

Adem AY on Unsplash

RCS is designed to bring the same functionalities that instant messaging services like WhatsApp, Telegram and other apps provide. Here are a few of the features that RCS offers:

RCS Features

  • Read receipts and typing indicators
  • Exchanging high-quality images, videos and GIFs
  • Exchanging documents
  • Exchanging voice notes
  • Proper Group messaging
  • Message reactions
  • And many other minor upgrades from SMS, making it more interactive.

RCS vs iMessage

Alexander Shatov on Unsplash

Exclusivity is the key difference between iMessage and RCS. Only Apple products, including Macs, iPads, iPhones, and Apple Watches, can send iMessages.

On the other hand, RCS is compatible with any Android device running Android 5.0 or later, regardless of the manufacturer.

When the Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA) in 2007 first brought up the concept of RCS, the idea was to completely replace SMS with a single, industry-agreed set of features called Universal Profile.
While most Smartphone companies and carriers have adopted the Universal Profile, Apple has yet to join the alliance.
As of right now, you can enable RCS on all modern Android phones in the Google Messages app.

Are RCS Messages free?

Since RCS uses Mobile Network and WiFi, RCS messages are free to send.

Are RCS Messages encrypted?

RCS messages are end-to-end encrypted.

rcs messaging

How to enable RCS?

Steps to set up RCS Messaging Service:

Step 1:

Turn off WiFi and turn on Mobile Data from your quick settings.

Step 2:

Install/ Open Google Messages app depending on your device then set it as your default messaging app.

Step 3:

Tap on the three-dot menu and select the settings option.

Step 4:

Tap on the option labelled “Chat Features”, and you’ll be greeted by a new window.

Step 5:

On the new window, you should see an option labelled “Enable Chat Features”. Toggle that option, and you’ll be required to enter your phone number for your primary SIM Card.  

Step 6:

After that, you should see “Connected” beside the Status option, and you’re all set to enjoy all the features RCS enables over traditional text messaging. 

How to enable RCS

Conclusion: Why You Should Enable RCS

RCS is an excellent add-on to the already universally used SMS protocol. While some specialised functions may be missing, it offers precisely the appropriate amount of features to meet the needs of the vast majority of users. Not to mention the fact that the feature set is bound to improve with widespread adoption.

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  • Qazi Naqib Monzur

    Naqib likes bread, a lot. Also dabbles in way too many sectors for them to fit in a bio. Occasionally seen to be ranting endlessly about technology and sports.

  • Asgar Azwad

    Asgar, co-founder and editor at The Interlude, is currently a med school student and constantly testing the limits of the human spirit.

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2 Responses

  1. Asgar Azwad says:


  2. Naqib says:

    This was a long time coming

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