Last month, it emerged that Verizon was planning to launch Universal Profile RCS early next year. The Google-backed messaging standard is now set to officially begin rolling out on December 6th for the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL.
Earlier today, Verizon employees on Reddit noted the launch, with the carrier officially confirming it in a statement to several publications this afternoon. While Verizon already supports advanced features like read receipts and typing indicators in its first-party Messages+ app, the Universal Profile ensures carrier interoperability.
Like Google, Verizon refers to it as “Chat” and “enhanced messaging.” The internal document posted by employees provides a full list of features, and names Google’s Messages app as the place to access the new functionality:
- Send larger text messages: Create larger messages up to 8000 characters long. With Android Messages Chat you’re no longer limited to 160 characters.
- Typing indicators: See when your contact is typing in a conversation.
- Read receipts: See when your message has been read.
- Large group chats: Create group chats with up to 100 participants who also have chat features enabled.
- High-quality media sharing: Share pictures and videos in high-quality.
- Chat over WiFi: you can send messages over WiFi, even when you don’t have a cellular connection.
- Transfer larger files: Send larger attachments than ever before.
This functionality will only work for users that have Chat enabled on their devices, with this especially being the case in group conversations. Otherwise, the other party will receive messages as SMS/MMS. Other touted features that are already live in Messages for the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL include “local sharing, mobile payment, sending audio recording, sending stickers, and much more.”
While limited to the two Made by Google phones, this is a good sign that the SMS/MMS replacement is finally happening in a significant way and coming to users in the U.S.
Update 12/6: Verizon published a support page detailing “Chat features in the Messages app” today. A FAQ notes support for the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, as well as other user questions. Meanwhile, there are already a number of reports from Verizon subscribers that the feature is live today.
You might encounter a welcome prompt in Messages noting that the feature is live, or can check Settings > Advanced > Chat features. Additionally, conversations with supported users will note “Chat message” in the reply field instead of “Text Message.”