T-Mobile advances mobile messaging with Rich Communications Services

The new service brings richer one-on-chat features and simpler ways to send large image or video files.

Now that T-Mobile has started its Voice over LTE rollout, what's next? Messaging. Actually, make that Advanced Messaging.

On Wednesday, the carrier launched its more robust messaging service first for the Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime handset.

T-Mobile says the Samsung Galaxy S5 and S6 phones will gain Advanced Messaging through a software update with more than a dozen handsets to follow.

The new service will expand upon traditional IM by adding these features:

  • Rich 1 on 1 and group messaging, including near real-time chat
  • See when others are typing, when your message is delivered and even read
  • Share high-res photos and videos up to 10 MB just as you would a regular text message

T-Mobile's Advanced Messaging is built on RCS, or Rich Communications Services; a GSMA standard which other operators are expected to use in the future. In many other countries that have already launched RCS, it goes by the branded name "joyn."

T-Mobile is the first U.S. carrier to provide it, however, saying it "is built to work across all devices, makers and operating systems--and wireless operators."

There are obvious similarities between Advanced Messaging and Apple's native Messages app, where you can see when someone is typing and it's relatively easy to share images.

Of course Messages isn't cross-platform as it works only iOS and Mac OS X. Advanced Messaging is a more open implementation backed by a global mobile carrier group, and I'll be curious to see if iPhone users install and use it in the future.