Bratislava-based Slovak Telekom, the nation’s primary telco, has enabled Rich Communication Services for customer using the official texting app on the Android operating system.
Going forward, Android Messages will allow those using compatible Android devices to send text and multimedia messages, transfer files, and share their locations over the internet without having to install any third-party app.
The RCS standard was established by a group of industry promoters in 2007 seeking to replace SMS messaging with a richer text-message system with features similar to those consumers were already using on instant messaging apps like WhatsApp.
RCS messages are transmitted via data, with SMS being used as a fallback method in case there is a problem with the internet connection or the recipient’s device not supporting the standard.
“Customers who would like to keep sending messages via SMS can turn off RCS support in the settings menu,” said Peter Gálik, Senior Communication Specialist at Slovak Telekom.
Some of the features standardized in the current release of RCS specifications include standalone messaging, group chat, file transfer, IP voice chat, geolocation exchange, audio messaging, and network-based blacklisting.
In 2014, Slovak Telekom joined what is now a nearly 50-member strong group of telephone service providers supporting the RCS standard, although initially the feature was limited to the carrier’s own telecommunications app ‘Joyn’.
Slovak Telekom competitor Orange Slovakia also offers RCS, with its own telecommunications application ‘Libon’.
Slovak Telekom currently lists just five handsets – Samsung Galaxy A3, Samsung Galaxy A5, Samsung Galaxy A6, Samsung Galaxy S7, and Samsung Galaxy Note 8 – that support RCS natively with Google’s Android Messages. However, it expects more devices from other manufacturers to be added during the upcoming weeks.