The T-Mobile OnePlus 6T is in line for RCS messaging via an update
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OnePlus announced its first partnership with a US carrier at the launch of its current flagship, the 6T. This gave the network in question, T-Mobile, the right to sell these devices under its brand. Therefore, some pre-existing customers could buy this phone in possible conjunction with good deals. However, those 6Ts would end up on a different update stream compared to unlocked units bought directly from the OEM.
This is a potential drawback, as carriers may not compile or release updates at the same rate as a manufacturer might. However, this fact has recently worked out to the T-Mo customer's advantage. The carrier's units are now receiving a new update that upgrades them to RCS messaging.
RCS messaging - or Rich Communication Services - has been developed to enhance the messaging app baked into Android. It confers features such as expanded character sets, expanded message sizes, and an increased range of message status reports on this service. This elevates the typical bare-bones status of text messaging on the OS to something much closer to Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp or even iMessage.
Furthermore, as RCS messaging is carrier- and phone number-linked, there is no need to download large objects such as images. This T-Mobile-pushed update also upgrades its 6Ts to video-over-LTE (ViLTE) and the January 2019 security patch. The patch brings them up to the same level found on unlocked units of the same series (correct at time of writing).