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A back to basics guide - SMS versus RCS chat

For the 70% of people who use Android over Apple IOS, some of you may have noticed that when sending SMS messages, they turn into RCS chats instead. I noticed this the other day when the RCS message failed. Android will use RCS over Wi-Fi, when both mobile phones support RCS.

SMS vs RCS: Understanding the Key Differences

Short Message Service (SMS) and Rich Communication Services (RCS) are two messaging technologies used for sending text messages and multimedia content between mobile devices. While SMS has been around since the early days of mobile phones, RCS is a more recent development aimed at providing users with a richer and more interactive messaging experience. In this article, we'll explore the key differences between SMS and RCS chat. 1. Features SMS:

  • Limited to 160 characters per message.

  • Supports only plain text messages.

  • No read receipts or typing indicators.

  • No support for high-resolution images or videos.

  • Limited group messaging functionality.


  • Increased character limit, allowing for longer messages.

  • Supports rich media, such as high-resolution images, videos, and audio messages.

  • Provides read receipts and typing indicators.

  • Enhanced group messaging features, including the ability to name groups, add or remove participants, and leave a group.

  • Offers interactive elements, like buttons and suggested replies, for a more engaging experience.

2. Compatibility SMS:

  • Universal compatibility with all mobile phones, regardless of the device or operating system.

  • Does not require an internet connection.


  • Requires a compatible device and operating system, as well as support from the mobile carrier.

  • Requires an internet connection, as messages are sent over data networks.

3. Security SMS:

  • Lacks end-to-end encryption, making messages potentially vulnerable to interception.

  • Relies on the security provided by the mobile carrier.


  • Offers improved security features, such as end-to-end encryption (although not universally implemented).

  • Messages are stored on the device rather than the carrier's servers, offering more control over message privacy.

4. Cost SMS:

  • Typically charged per message or included as part of a mobile plan with a set number of messages per month.

  • May incur additional fees for international messaging.


  • Uses mobile data or Wi-Fi for messaging, so costs are associated with data usage.

  • No additional fees for international messaging, as long as data usage is covered.

5. Adoption SMS:

  • Widely adopted and used globally by billions of people.


  • Still in the process of being adopted by mobile carriers, device manufacturers, and users around the world.

In conclusion, RCS chat offers a more feature-rich and interactive messaging experience compared to SMS. However, its adoption has been slower due to the need for support from mobile carriers and device manufacturers, as well as compatibility issues. Nonetheless, as RCS continues to gain traction, it is expected to become a popular alternative to traditional SMS messaging.


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