The Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3a don’t feature RCS messaging on T-Mobile

Pixel 3 XL vs Pixel 3a XL showing front of the phone

Rich Communications Services (RCS) messaging has been touted as the successor to standard text messages, but you’ll have to go without it if you’ve got a Google Pixel 3 or Pixel 3a on T-Mobile.

Responding to someone on Twitter, T-Mobile bluntly said “no” when asked about RCS support for the new Pixel phones. Compounding matters, there aren’t any Pixel phones on T-Mobile’s list of phones that support RCS.

When Android Authority reached out to T-Mobile for clarification, the carrier said the following:

For wireless provider grade performance, T-Mobile’s advanced messaging RCS capabilities are built into the core of the network rather than individual apps or devices, and the Pixels currently do not support this network-level authentication.

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Keep in mind that T-Mobile adopted the RCS Universal Profile, the same one that Verizon and Sprint also adopted. Because Pixel phones support RCS messaging on Verizon, it makes us wonder whether T-Mobile is doing something on the back-end to limit access.

There’s always a chance that future updates will enable RCS for the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3a on T-Mobile. For now, RCS on T-Mobile remains limited to Samsung Galaxy S phones dating back to the Galaxy S7 and excluding the newer Galaxy S10 phones, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, and the OnePlus 6T.

NEXT: What’s the point of the Google Pixel 3a?

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Android Q might open up RCS to third-party apps

Much has been made about Rich Communication Services (RCS), but the reality hasn’t yet matched up to the hype. Thanks to several RCS-specific APIs for Android Q that Android Police found, that reality could finally change for the better.

Here’s the thing — as great as RCS is, carriers and manufacturers have done a great job of fumbling its usefulness. Google teamed up with several device makers to roll out RCS through its Messages app, while Samsung uses RCS for its stock messaging app. However, U.S. carriers have been incredibly slow with their RCS support and have very specific hoops that you must clear if you want to use RCS.

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All of that’s to say that RCS is only available through a small subset of messaging apps for a small subset of devices on a small subset of networks.

As much of a mess as RCS is right now, Android Q could remedy that somewhat. According to the APIs that Android Police found on the AOSP Gerrit, Android Q could open up RCS to messaging apps. So long as your carrier supports RCS, you could message folks with the protocol on third-party apps like Pulse SMS and Textra.

This is great news for those that want to see faster RCS adoption. Let’s just hope that carriers get their acts together and properly realize the dream of an inter-operable messaging service that works out of the box.

This week in Android: Only the best of 2018

Huawei Mate 20

It’s the end of 2018 — well, almost anyway — and we’re taking a look back over the year that was. Our resident app expert, Joe Hindy, is breaking down the very best apps of 2018 and the very best games of 2018. Who knew some many awesome new apps hit the Play Store this year? Plus, while we saw some great phones this year, we also saw a few that may have gone a bit unrecognized.

Speaking of underrated phones, our full review of the Huawei Mate 20 is in and it’s still pretty impressive, even when compared to the Mate 20 Pro. This gorgeous phone boasts a triple camera setup and even has a headphone jack. That’s not easy to come by these days, and we appreciate it. Still, with impressive specifications under the hood, this is a mighty capable phone on its own.

We also take a look at the future of messaging, the future of 5G, and the future of OnePlus. We’re very futuristic.

Here are your top stories for the week

Podcast goes here.

XX:XX – The Android Authority year-end survey: Help us become better!

It’s the end of the year, and we want to know how you liked us. What was great? What was not? What can we do better? We’re listening!


XX:XX – 15 best Android apps released in 2018!

2018 was a great year for new apps. Joe Hindy breaks down all the best apps that came out this year, including new browsers and VPNs — you name it!


XX:XX – 15 best Android games released in 2018!

This is the featured image for the best battle royale games for android

In addition to the best apps of the year, we also have the best new games released in 2018. Looking for some great time wasters? Look no further!


XX:XX – The most underrated smartphones of 2018

We saw some great phones come out this year, but there were also some phones that flew under the radar.


XX:XX – Huawei Mate 20 review: Packing premium performance for a high price

Our Huawei Mate 20 review is in and speaking of underrated phones, this phone was greatly underrated because of its larger sibling.


Meanwhile, here are some stories we couldn’t cover on the podcast

What is RCS messaging and why is it important?

samsung galaxy s9 one ui review messages

A new messaging protocol is on the horizon, but naturally it won’t be completely smooth sailing to get there.


Huawei poised to spend billions to fix its bad security reputation

Huawei really wants to fix its reputation as a security threat, so it’s going to throw money at the problem.


5G smartphones from LG, Samsung could launch in February, retail in March

In 2019, we get all the 5Gs and LG and Samsung look to be among the very first to use the connection.


Oura Ring 2 review: The early adopter catches the worm

Oura Ring 2 Heart Rate Monitor

This health tracking ring is one of the best sleep trackers we’ve ever used, and that’s just the beginning.


Google ‘Dragonfly’ Chinese search engine allegedly shelved for now

Google was making a search engine for China before its employees kinda freaked out about it. They’re not making one any more.


Honor 10 Lite hands-on: The budget selfie king?

Honor’s latest offering sports an impressive 24MP selfie camera, but unfortunately, that’s where the impressive part stops.


There’s something very fishy about this alleged OnePlus phone leak

In a new leak from OnePlus, we see some new hardware including a larger camera sensor on the back. But where did this photo come from?


Who wants to win a Google Pixel 3?

This week, we’re giving away a brand new Google Pixel 3Enter this week’s Sunday giveaway for your chance to win!

Don’t miss these videos

That’s it, folks! We’ll have another giveaway and more top Android stories for you next week. To stay up to date on all things Android Authority in the meantime, be sure to subscribe to our newsletters at the link below.

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