What is RCS? The Difference Between RCS and SMS

By: 3C The Messenger – October 22, 2019

Lately, there’s been plenty of momentum propelling RCS messaging into the limelight as the up-and-coming messaging technology. Often referred to as the evolution of SMS, or SMS 2.0, RCS (Rich Communication Services) will be able to compete head-to-head with OTT messaging channels such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.

So, what is all the buzz about? What does RCS have that SMS does not? Why is it so far superior? Let’s break down three ways that RCS business messaging is helping brands build better relationships with their customers.


Branding is essential. It’s the image of a business, what identifies brands from each other. A logo, color scheme, or tone of voice attracts customers and helps identify the brands they love. When you text someone, would knowing who they are be beneficial? Of course, it would. The same principle applies to messaging.

SMS provides very few options for brands to showcase key elements of their identity. Limited to text only, SMS can only contain the name of the brand at the beginning of every message in plain text. MMS can provide an enriched platform to showcase images, videos, and GIFS that contain the logo, colors, and overall visual tone of any brand, but file size is limited and it can be costly.

With RCS, branding options abound. Brands can display their logo, apply color to certain text fields, and display an image on a custom information page. These options create a familiar face of the brand, allowing consumers to feel comfortable that they are communicating securely with the intended brand.

Interactivity and User Engagement

Rightfully so, brands want to amaze and entice customers across all digital channels. A dull digital experience can damage the success of a messaging campaign. With SMS, there’s only so much a user can do with a block of text. The implementation of hyperlinks and guided keyword-responses can provide some level of engagement and enrichment. MMS can add additional captivation through the use of visual media elements. Overall, though, SMS and MMS are not up to today’s standard of interactivity.

RCS makes the native messaging app more like any other app you use on your smartphone. Users can tap and swipe on rich cards, chip lists, suggested actions, and more. RCS is rich in media and can support all sorts of files. Suggested actions and chip lists even have the capability to connect with apps installed on a user’s phone such as Google Maps and the Google Play Store. Brands are also in better control of what responses they receive from customers through the use of workflow tools. This, in turn, makes the user journey more enjoyable and tailored to their needs.

New Possibilities

Technical restrictions are frustrating. Brands want to do one thing, but limitations prevent them from doing them. One such restriction is the notorious 160 character limit that comes with SMS. Has anything changed over the past decade or so? No, it hasn’t. In addition to that, multimedia sizes beyond a certain threshold have difficulty being sent to users. Any attempts at adding a lot of media or rich media become severely limited.

Character limits? What’s that? With RCS, there’s unlimited space with rich text. Brands now have the freedom to send users as much text as they’d like without worrying about abbreviating or cutting details out. Rich media is also seemingly limitless in comparison to SMS. Although large files may take longer to upload, there’s much less restraint on the size of the file you can send to a user. There’s a reason why the “R” in RCS stands for “rich”!

So what?

The upgrade to mobile messaging via RCS is refreshing for brands that have been yearning to go beyond the basics of SMS. The difference in both mobile messaging technologies is definitely significant. Would you like to see the difference for yourself? We’re the global leader in the deployment in RCS. Click here to learn more and get started with us.


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