How to send free SMS by activating the RCS protocol on Android

It seems incredible, but for more than a year we have been talking about the RCS protocol on the blog, Google's great project to replace traditional SMS with a much more complete, versatile and updated tool for current times. Colloquially known as "Chat", this new utility is nothing more than an application update "Posts that we can find on any phone with Android operating system (yes, the app to send SMS of a lifetime).

What exactly are RCS messages and what advantages do they offer over traditional SMS?

The RCS communication protocol refers to the acronym for "Enriched Communication Services" (or "Rich Communication Services”In English), and comes to be something like the gifted older brother of SMS. Instead of sending just plain text, a mobile with RCS allows us to send messages and communicate with other people as if we were in a chat.

This translates into the possibility of send videos and images, add emojis, receive read receipts and a set of functionalities similar to that of any instant messaging application. Although undoubtedly one of its most outstanding qualities is that unlike SMS, operators will no longer be able to charge us a fixed fee for sending this type of messages: communication is done through the Internet, and therefore, it is 100% free (as long as we have Wi-Fi or mobile data, of course).

However, it should be noted that the "Chat" or RCS protocol is nothing more than a standard, and that therefore it depends on each teleoperator whether or not we can start using it on our terminal. To give an example, here in Spain, the only company that currently allows you to send messages with the RCS protocol officially is Vodafone.

How to activate the Chat RCS protocol on any Android device

Certainly, it appears that carriers are not in a rush to enable RCS for their customers. Nevertheless, Google has already implemented it in its "Messages" application, and although it is still hidden from the general public, we can now activate it through a little trick.

For all this to work, it is necessary that first of all, we install the latest beta of Google Messages. To do this, we must update our Google Messages application through the Play Store test program HERE. Finally, it is also necessary that we install the app Activity Launcher.

Once we have everything in place, the steps to follow are as follows.

  • We open Activity Launcher. Click on "Recent activities"And in the drop-down we select"All the activities”.
  • We scroll to the application of "Posts", Click on it, and go to"RCS Flags Set”.
  • Here, we open the "ACS Url"And we choose the option"//rcs-acs-prod-us.sandbox.google.com/”. In the «OTP Pattern»We select the only available option,«Your \ sMessenger \ sverification \ scode \ sis \ sG - (\ d {6})«. We confirm the changes by pressing the button "Apply”.

Finally, we exit Activity Launcher and open the "Messages" application. We will see how a new pop-up message appears inviting us to use the new RCS Chat functions: click on “Update now”.

If everything has gone correctly, after a few minutes we open the Messages application again (if it takes too long it is advisable to restart the device) and we will see how now the interface has changed slightly.

To finish activating the RCS protocol, click on the icon with an exclamation mark that appears at the top of the screen and we verify our phone number. We can confirm that the service is already activated from "Settings -> Chat functions”. Once it is up and running, we can send emojis, share audios, videos and images directly from the mobile messaging app at zero cost.

It should be clarified that yes, that our contact must also have RCS enabled. Otherwise, the message will be sent as a normal SMS.

Possible Faults / Warnings

It is possible that this trick will stop working in future updates of the application (remember that we are talking about a beta, so it can be supplanted by a new version at any time).

We may also encounter difficulties in verifying our phone number and activating the service. Although it works in most countries, mobiles and operators, it seems that even so, in some terminals it is simply not possible to activate the chat service yet.

Related article: How to send free SMS over the Internet

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