For much of its existence, taking advantage of RCS has meant jumping through a variety of hoops. A lot of that has had to do with the fact that some carriers have used a slightly tweaked version of the protocol. Now that T-Mobile is entirely on board with the Universal Profile, the experience should be more seamless. As long as they own a phone that fully supports the protocol, T-Mobile customers won’t have to dive into Android’s settings to enable RCS or install another messaging app on their device. Currently, the carrier says approximately 40 devices, including some of those available through its Metro flanker brand, support the protocol out of the box, with more RCS-capable phones to come in the future.
This isn’t the first time Android users in different countries have been able to message each other using RCS. In 2017, Sprint and Rogers in Canada made their networks compatible with one another. That said, RCS has come a long way since then, both in terms of availability and ubiquity.
It’s not clear how the partnership will affect the Cross-Carrier Messaging Initiative T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon (Engadget’s parent company) announced in 2019. At the time, the carriers said the project would create a “seamless” and ” interoperable” RCS experience across their networks. We’ve reached out to both T-Mobile and Google for clarification, and we’ll update this article when we hear back from them.