Before the arrival of messaging applications over the internet, SMS was the only way to send text messages to other phone numbers, text messages that had a cost and that they weren't exactly cheap. Shortly after, MMS arrived, text messages that we could accompany with images whose price was abusive.
With the arrival of WhatsApp, the operators saw an important part of their income collapsing. As the years went by, and smartphones were replacing phones, the use of SMS was reduced to practically zero. The only alternative that the operators found was to launch a messaging platform whose operation was the same as WhatsApp.
It goes without saying that this application passed without pain or glory in the market and was quickly discontinued by the operators. As the years went by, more messaging applications such as Telegram, Line, Viber, WeChat, Signal, Messenger, Skype arrived ... The operators had thrown in the towel and they had no interest in offering an alternative that was associated with an application.
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Origin of RCS
It was not until 2016 (WhatsApp was launched in 2009 for iOS and in 2010 for Android, although they did not become popular until 2012) when, under the MWC, the main telephone operators announced an agreement with Google and several smartphone manufacturers to implement the standard. Rich Communication Service (RCS) and that it was called to become the successor to SMS (Short Messaging Service).
Being a natural successor to SMS, this new protocol had the mission of working via native texting app, so it would not be necessary to install a specific third-party application, therefore, messages could be sent to any phone number without the recipient needing to have a specific application, such as WhatsApp, Telegram, Viber ...
Being a rich communication service (Rich Communication Service free translation) in addition to sending text, it would also allow us send files of any kind, be it images, videos, audios or any type of file. As they do not need a specific application, all terminals would have to be compatible with this service, hence it was necessary for operators and terminal manufacturers to agree to get involved in this new project since they would have to offer support for RCS in your native messaging applications to manage your text messages.
Microsoft and Google They were also part of the necessary agreement to be able to offer this new technology, it is last for obvious reasons since all the smartphones that come to the market with Android are under their umbrella. Google would also be responsible for launching a message application for the entire Android ecosystem that could take advantage of this new protocol if its manufacturer did not do so natively. Apple has never supported this new service and at the moment it seems that at present it still does not intend to do so.
How the RCS works
Support for RCS by manufacturers began shortly after the announcement of the agreement by the main stakeholders. The operators also began to adopt this new protocol, but none were following a previously marked route and soon after they found that some functions were compatible with some operators and smartphone manufacturers, but not with other operators.
Fortunately, everything changed when Google took the bull by the horns and promised to launch an application for Android, an application that any user can install on their device, regardless of the manufacturer, in order to make use of rich text messages. This application, set a series of rules that both smartphone manufacturers and operators had to comply with and that the user did not encounter incompatibility problems.
In March 2020, Google updated the Messages application available in the Play Store, to give support for RCS. In order to take advantage of this new protocol, it was necessary for the search giant to previously reach an agreement with the main operators, an agreement that has already been formalized at least between the three largest in Spain such as Movistar, Orange and Vodafone.
To be able to use this protocol, it is necessary that both terminals, both the sender and the receiver, are compatible with this protocolOtherwise, the receiver will receive a normal text message without any type of multimedia content, a message that will have a cost for the sender, according to the contract it has established with its operator. The RCS protocol is completely free unlike traditional SMS.
Both the Google Messages application and the one offered by the different manufacturers automatically detect which of our contacts already have support for RCS. How do we know? Very easy. When sending the message, we have to click on the send key, located on the right side of the text box. If no legend appears below that arrow, the recipient of our message will receive the complete multimedia message.
If the recipient of the message does not have this function activated, either through their operator or through the manufacturer of their smartphone, SMS will appear if we are sending text only.
or MMS if we are sending any type of multimedia file.
Through this new protocol we can send any type of file, be it images, videos, audio files, GIFs, stickers, emoticons, create groups, share the location, share contacts from the agenda ... all this with a maximum limit of 10 MB. Regarding video calls, that possibility was also considered, but at the moment it is not available.
As we can see, this protocol offers us the same advantages as any instant messaging application. Besides, also computers and tablets are available, so we will be able to have conversations with our friends and family as if we were doing it directly from our smartphone.
How to enable or disable RCS messaging
As soon as you install the version of Android available in the Play Store, RCS protocol will be ready so that we can use it, since it is activated natively. If we want to disable it, we must perform the following steps:
- We access the application Messages.
- Click on the three points located vertically in the upper right corner of the application and click on Settings.
- Within Settings, we access the menu Chat functions.
- Within this menu, if our operator supports RCS, the word Status will be displayed Connected. If not, it means that our telephone operator does not offer support yet or you have to call them to activate it.
- To deactivate it, we just have to turn off the switch with the name Enable chat features.