Telstra has announced that they have flicked the switch on their support for Rich Communication Services (RCS), the new generation of messaging that combines TXT and MMS messaging with other multimedia support.
The service is only available to anyone with an active plan or pre-paid mobile service from Telstra, and only those using a compatible device purchased from Telstra. Compatible devices at this stage include the Samsung Galaxy S8/Galaxy S8+ as well as the Samsung Galaxy S7/Galaxy S7 Edge phones.
While Telstra is the only Australian carrier supporting RCS so far, Telstra forsees a future where RCS is interoperable between other Australian networks as they bring their support for RCS online. For now, Telstra says that any messages will be sent to non-Telstra Messaging contacts on any network will be sent as standard SMS/MMS.
For now, Telstra is only advising support for RCS on Samsung phones with sent messages colour-coded so you can tell what’s happening, you’ll see green for Chat and yellow for SMS. Google’s Messages app supports RCS, but we’ll need to do some testing on this one.
So, what can RCS support? Telstra lists:
- Use a single inbox for SMS, MMS & RCS data message types
- Have your Voicemail delivered as an audio file with speech to text attached if you are a Telstra Voice2Text or Message2text customer
- Have your Voicemail delivered as an audio file if you’re a MessageBank customer
- Send any file type including pictures, videos, documents & voice messages (up to 19MB)
- Create Group conversations for the people you message most, group members (must be Telstra Messaging customers)
- Exchange chat messages or files when you are connect to Wi-Fi
- See when your RCS chat messages and files have been delivered
- See when your SMS messages have been delivered
- See when another Telstra Messaging contact is online, last active or typing a message to you
- Undelivered RCS File Transfers are stored and forwarded when you’re back online
- Undelivered RCS chat messages will be sent as SMS
- Share your location with a friend or group of friends that have Telstra Messaging
RCS uses data rather than TXT messages, with 3-5 lines weighing in at approximately 2 kB in size. Telstra also advises that there is a maximum file size of 19MB supported as part of a file transfer.
If you’re a Telstra customer with a compatible Samsung phone it’s time to try it out and see what it’s like.