(Reuters) – Verizon Communications will make Google’s Messages the default messaging app on all Android devices it sells starting next year, the U.S. wireless carrier said on Tuesday.
With that move, Verizon would join peers AT&T Inc and T-Mobile US Inc in propping up competition to Apple Inc’s iMessage service.
Alphabet Inc-owned Google’s Messages comes with features similar to those in iMessage, using Rich Communication Services (RCS) technology to replace SMS-based texts.
Apple’s iMessage is limited to users who use the company’s devices, and the iPhone maker has not yet indicated any plans to extend the feature to Android users.
With RCS, users can send and receive high-quality photos and videos, chat over WiFi or cellular data and know when messages were read, among other features.
Earlier this year, AT&T and T-Mobile announced they would make Google’s messaging app as the default one on all their Android devices.
“Customers using Verizon’s Message+ app will also get full access to RCS capabilities by the end of the year,” Verizon said in a statement.
(Reporting by Eva Mathews in Bengaluru; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.)