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

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

Chat features use 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 do chat features work?

Chat features use a data connection (mobile network or WiFi) to send messages between two chat feature enabled Android devices. Both sending and receiving devices must have chat features enabled and each customer’s carrier must support chat feature messaging.

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

Compatible Devices

To use chat features 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 you are 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 chat features.

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

Setting up chat features

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 chat features
    • If you have not already, follow the prompts to opt-in to the chat features
  8. Some phones will ask to stop optimizing battery usage for the Messages app
    • This is required to use chat features. 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 chat features option
    • This may take a few moments for the feature to activate
  7. Chat features should now be enabled

Frequently Asked Questions

Are chat features available while roaming?

Chat 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. Roaming charges may apply.

Once chat features are activated, can I message over WiFi?

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

There are no additional charges to use chat features over WiFi unless the Wi-Fi connection you are using requires payment.


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

Yes, chat features are available if your phone has active Shaw Mobile service and you meet all the chat feature requirements.

Will I be charged for messages sent over WiFi to another chat feature 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 chat feature enabled.

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

If you have chat features enabled Chat message will display in the messaging text box along with 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 do chat features 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?

Chat features are 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 chat features.

Can I use chat features without a data plan?

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

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