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Vodafone will adopt Google’s RCS in new deal that also puts Pixel in retail stores and more

Google has struck a deal with Vodafone, a major telecommunications company in Europe, which will expand the footprint of Pixel and Android TV and will update RCS for customers across the continent.

Vodafone is a major carrier and ISP across Europe and also operates in parts of Africa, Asia, and Oceania. The company was a major player in the development of SMS messaging, sending the first SMS text message in 1992.

Now, the company has opted to implement RCS with the help of Google, moving handling for RCS messages for Vodafone customers to Google’s Jibe platform. Android customers on Vodafone could already use RCS via Google’s rollout of the technology in 2021, but today’s announcement makes that method the official way to use RCS on the carrier’s network. It also means that smartphones sold by Vodafone will come preloaded with Google Messages.

Vodafone is far from the first to hand off handling of RCS to Google, with T-Mobile and AT&T both adopting Jibe in the US. Verizon handles its own RCS back end but still defaults its phones to Google Messages.

Beyond RCS, this deal between Vodafone and Google will also see Pixel phones sold in Vodafone retail stores in more markets. This will also bring Pixel Watch and Pixel Buds to retail, and Pixel Watch will add support to Vodafone’s network for LTE and the carrier’s OneNumber service.

Vodafone mobile customers in these countries will be able to use the fantastic new Pixel 7 phone, as well as Pixel Watch and Pixel Buds, with Vodafone’s award-winning 5G coverage. Vodafone and Google will also significantly improve the experience of other connected devices, including the Pixel Watch, through Vodafone’s mobile network and OneNumber service.

Finally, the deal will also make Android TV OS Vodafone’s “preferred” platform for set-top boxes for Vodafone TV service going forward. Many other Pay TV companies have adopted the platform over the past few years.

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