Rich Communication Services (RCS) is the next generation of messaging for Android phones. RCS is supported on devices purchased from Shaw, brought to us from other carriers, or purchased directly from the manufacturer.

Shaw Mobile supports RCS functionality built into the Google Messages app and Samsung Messages (select devices only).

RCS uses mobile data or a WiFi connection to send messages that include a suite of popular chat features:

  • Typing indicators
  • Read receipts
  • Large file transfers
  • High resolution image transfer

How does RCS work?

RCS uses a data connection (mobile network or WiFi) to send messages between two RCS-enabled Android devices. Both sending and receiving devices must have RCS enabled and each customer’s carrier must support RCS messaging.

Sending large files, images, or videos on RCS will count towards the data limits of our rate plan when connected to the mobile network. Text-based conversations on RCS also use a small amount of mobile data. When RCS is not available, messages will send as standard SMS/MMS. Additional charges may apply.

Compatible Devices

To use RCS on your Android device, you will need to have:

  • Active Shaw Mobile service
  • A device running on Android 5.0 or newer
  • Messages app by Google LLC (3.8 or newer) downloaded and installed on your device or, if using a compatible Samsung device, Samsung Messages.

If you’re using a Dual SIM device, you’ll have to set Shaw Mobile as your default for mobile data to use RCS.

As RCS features are dependent on service provider support and device manufacturer configuration, we cannot guarantee full RCS support. RCS is not compatible with iOS devices (e.g. iPhones)

Setting up RCS

All Android Devices

  1. Ensure the latest version of Messages by Google LLC is installed from the Google Play Store
  2. Open the Messages app
    • Ensure the Messages by Google LLC app is set as the default messaging application
  3. Tap the Menu icon.
  4. Tap General if the option is displayed. If not, proceed to step 5
  5. Tap Chat Features
  6. Toggle Enable chat features to ON
  7. You will be required to opt-in to the RCS service.
    • If you have not already, follow the prompts to opt-in to the RCS service
  8. Some phones will ask to stop optimizing battery usage for the Messages app
    • This is required for RCS. Follow the prompts to stop optimizing battery usage.
  9. Ensure Enable chat features is ON and status says Connected

Samsung Galaxy Device

  1. Ensure you have the latest version of your phone’s software
  2. Open the default Samsung Messages app.
    • Ensure the Samsung Messages app is set as the default messaging application
  3. Tap the Menu icon
  4. Tap Settings
  5. Select Chat Settings
  6. Enable the Rich Communications Settings option
    • This may take a few moments for the feature to activate
  7. RCS should now be enabled

RCS features within the Samsung Messages app is available for the following Canadian model devices purchased from Shaw, directly from Samsung, or brought from another carrier:

  • Galaxy S8/S8+/S9/S9+/S10e/S10/S10+/ S20/S20+/S20 Ultra
  • Galaxy Note 8/9/10/10+
  • Galaxy Z Flip
  • Galaxy A70/A71
  • Galaxy A50/A51
  • Galaxy A20
  • Galaxy A10e

Frequently Asked Questions

Are RCS features available while roaming?

RCS features are available globally as long as you are connected to WiFi or have a mobile data connection, regardless if you are roaming or not. Messages may be converted to SMS/MMS. Roaming charges may apply.

You can customize your preferences within Google Messages or Samsung Messages advanced settings.

Once RCS is activated, can I message over WiFi?

Yes, as long as the recipient also has an RCS enabled Android phone.

When RCS features are unavailable, messages may be converted SMS/MMS and sent over the mobile network.  Roaming charges may apply when outside of Canada.

I didn’t buy my Android phone from Shaw Mobile — can I still use RCS features?

Yes, RCS will be available if your phone has active Shaw Mobile service and you meet all the RCS requirements.

Will I be charged for messages sent over WiFi to another RCS user?

Unless you’re using a WiFi connection that requires payment, no additional charges will apply.

Usage charges for SMS and MMS may apply if messaging a phone that is not RCS enabled.

How can you tell the difference between a RCS, SMS, and MMS message?

RCS messages will display Chat message in the messaging text box and will display the standard send icon.

SMS messages will display Text message in the messaging text box and will display SMS along with the send icon.

MMS messages will display Text message in the messaging text box and will display MMS along with the send icon.

How much data does RCS use?

Data consumption is dependent on which features you are using. For example, sending a high-resolution photo will require more data than a text-based message.

Why is there a warning about battery optimization?

RCS is supported through Google integrations, and as a result, the Google Messages app requires the ability to sync in the background to deliver an enhanced messaging experience. Customers should not experience a noticeable increase in battery usage due to RCS features.

Can I use RCS without a data plan?

Learn more about how you can use RCS without a data plan here.

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