Update: 1st Gen Pixel devices too.
After enabling Rich Communication Services (RCS) on their network for selected Samsung Galaxy phones in October last year, Telstra has begun enabling RCS for Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL phones on their network over the last few days as well.
Telstra has been sending text messages to customers with both Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL handsets advising that their mobile is now ‘Telstra Messaging Capable’, and that Message2Text voice mail will be delivered to the ‘RCS messaging inbox on your device’. Telstra has been pointing customers to their telstra.com/rcs website, however the site only shows Samsung Galaxy devices as capable.
Hey @Ausdroid , got this message early this morning on my Pixel 2XL from @Telstra… Does that mean that Pixel phones are now able to send RCS messages?🙏🙏 #ausdroid #telstra #rcs pic.twitter.com/Ao4wryB9UN
— Rolly G (@5nap_shot) July 11, 2018
Telstra has not yet responded with comment on the current rollout of RCS services to Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL devices, both phones of which are exclusively available through the carrier on plans – though you can purchase them outright from a number of retailers.
The RCS support in their text message lists only the Message2Text service as the feature supported by Telstra, however on their RCS site they’ve listed many more features of the service:
- 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 is the next step in a unified messaging platform according to Google, with their focus shifting earlier this year from their messaging client Allo, to a new RCS platform using the Universal RCS profile outlined by the GSM Association which Google are calling ‘Chat’. The Chat team is headed up by Anil Sabharwal, the current head of Google’s communications team and recently announced Engineering Lead at Google Australia, who is familiar to most of us as the face of one of the most popular Google services announced in recent years – Google Photos.
Telstra is the only Australian carrier who is currently offering RCS to their customers, albeit on a small number of handsets. Both Singtel and their subsidiary Optus, as well as Vodafone through their global parent are listed as signatories amongst 55 global carriers, 11 OEMs and two OS providers: Microsoft and Google.
When approached earlier this year regarding implementing RCS in Australia, an Optus spokesperson said:
Optus is investigating the development of Rich Communication Services. We’re considering the accessibility of this functionality in current handsets and how smartphone manufacturers are responding to this technology.
Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA), said:
We don’t have any news on RCS at the moment. That said we’re constantly evaluating new technologies and if and how we might integrate them so will let you know if we have any updates.
We’ve again reached out to both Vodafone and Optus regarding their plans for rolling out RCS to their customers and will update with any further information or if we receive any further updates from Telstra regarding supporting more phones with RCS on their network.