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RCS messaging on Google Fi rolling out today to compatible phones

Google Fi RCS messaging is here, and international coverage is going to get a lot better.

Published onJanuary 14, 2019

Google announced today on its blog that the moment Google Fi (formerly Project Fi) subscribers have been waiting for is here: RCS messaging is rolling out now to compatible phones.

According to the blog post, Google Fi RCS messaging will be available on all smartphones designed for Google Fi (Pixel devices, some LG devices, and some Motorola devices — full list here).

If you don’t own one of those, Google says RCS messaging will also work on phones not designed for Fi but still compatible with the service. You can find a full list of those phones here, which includes devices from Samsung, Huawei, OnePlus, HTC, and more.

What is RCS messaging and why is it important?
Google Messages logo on smartphone laying on table (4)

In either case, you will need to use Messages (formerly Android Messages) to get the RCS features. If you have a phone made for Fi, Messages and RCS will be the default. If you have a phone not designed for (but compatible with) Fi, you’ll need to download and set Messages as your default SMS provider and enable RCS messaging manually (you’ll be prompted to do so, no need to search for a settings toggle).

To be clear, RCS messaging will only work with devices connected to Google Fi service. This means if you use Google Fi and text someone who does not, RCS features will not work. RCS features also will not work if you communicate with a Fi subscriber but they do not have Messages set as their default SMS client and RCS messaging enabled.

RCS messaging enables advanced features for texting, such as read receipts, typing status updates, the sending and receiving of large files, and more. Check out our primer for what RCS messaging means for you.

Related: Google Fi vs T-Mobile: Which is right for you?

In somewhat related news, Google Fi also will eventually boost international coverage in several countries. These countries currently have Fi support, but will soon be 4G LTE-enabled, which will result in faster speeds when Google Fi customers are traveling abroad. Here are the countries which will eventually have 4G LTE coverage:

If you are interested in reading more about what Google Fi has to offer, check out our coverage below:

NEXT: Google Fi plans — What are your options?

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