Messaging services like iMessage are able to overcome the limitations of text messaging on several fronts, and now T-Mobile is set to introduce those advantages through its recently-launched Advanced Messaging feature.
Built on the Rich Communications Service (RCS), Advanced Messaging allows for near real-time chat with either one other person or with a group. It also lets you see when others are typing, when messages are delivered, and when they are read. Finally, you can send photos and video clips up to 10MB in size to others. With Advanced Messaging, there’s no need to use a separate app or to sign up for another service.
If this sounds a bit familiar, it’s because there are other messaging services, like iMessage, that already have similar features. The main difference with Advanced Messaging is that you don’t need an iPhone to take advantage of it. So long as you have a T-Mobile device, you’re good to go, though existing devices will need a software update to enable the feature.
According to T-Mobile, the first device to launch with Advanced Messaging is the Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime, which is available for purchase today for $190 outright or $7.92 a month for 23 months and (to be absolutely exact) $7.83 for the final month. By the time we reach the end of 2015, T-Mobile will have “nearly a dozen more” devices that will include the feature. For owners of the Samsung Galaxy S5 and Galaxy S6, however, they will also receive Advanced Messaging through a software update sometime in the near future.
As for the service itself, Advanced Messaging was built to work “across all devices, makers and operating systems, and wireless operators,” though T-Mobile is the first carrier to properly take advantage of RCS. In addition, you’ll need either a Wi-Fi or LTE connection to use Advanced Messaging.
Given today’s announcement, T-Mobile may wind up spurring its competitors into using RCS in order to support Advanced Messaging or something similar for their customers, in the same way that T-Mobile spurred AT&T and Verizon to offer monthly installment plans.
Alongside the announcement, T-Mobile also announced a slew of new devices, starting with the Kyocera Hydro Wave, which is currently available for $150 outright or $6.25 a month for 23 months and $6.24 for the final month. Those on MetroPCS can look forward to buying the handset on July 27. Meanwhile, the HTC Desire 626s, announced last Wednesday, is available for purchase for $170 outright or $7.09 a month for 23 months and $6.92 for the final month.
The Samsung Galaxy Core Prime is also available for purchase starting today for $140 outright or $5.84 a month for 23 months and $5.67 for the final month. Finally, the Alcatel OneTouch Pixi 7 tablet will be available on July 29 for $168 outright or $7 a month for 24 months.