T-Mobile expanded its partnership with Google, becoming the first US carrier to make Messages by Google the default SMS choice on its Android phones.
Messages by Google is the company’s attempt to grow beyond basic text messaging. Messages implements the RCS protocol, bringing SMS more on par with Apple’s iMessage or Facebook’s WhatsApp. RCS allows for group chats, read receipts, file attachments, encryption and more.
Unfortunately for Google, the company has had difficulty getting carriers to make the jump to the new protocol. T-Mobile has now become the first carrier to make Messages the default SMS app on Android and Pixel phones the carrier ships.
“This is a win for Android users and an even greater win for the Android ecosystem,” said Hiroshi Lockheimer, Senior Vice President of Platforms and Ecosystems at Google. “T-Mobile and Google have been working together to champion Android since the very beginning with the launch of the T-Mobile G1 in 2008. We’re taking what has already been a long and very successful relationship, and building on it to bring Android customers even more features and services.”
The news follows T-Mobile’s announcement it would be ending its in-house TVision streaming TV service, in favor of its customers receiving a $10 per month discount on YouTube TV.
“We’re building on our decade-long relationship with Google to give customers an even better experience with the world’s very best products and services offered by Android, Pixel and YouTube,” said Mike Sievert, CEO of T-Mobile. “The world’s most popular smartphone platform with Android, a broad range of premium Pixel devices, an upgraded, modern messaging experience on Android and a robust entertainment offering with YouTube TV — it’s the best of Google, combined with the nation’s largest and fastest 5G network on T-Mobile.”