How to Enable RCS on Airtel Kenya and Airtel Uganda

enable rcs kenya uganda

It is no secret that the messaging situation on Android is a bit of a mess. Ask any iPhone users and one of the reasons they are reluctant to make the switch to the world of Android and you’re bound to hear something to do with iMessage and the blue bubbles (their version of RCS.)

The ease with which iMessage integrates with other Apple devices including iPads and Macs is seamlessly that seems to elude Android. But not for long….or so we hope.

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Enter Rich Communication Services (RCS), or what many see as the replacement for SMS. Imagine the level of features that comes with using WhatsApp or Telegram or whichever Instant Messaging service you like. All that within your SMS app. Well, it is here.

The rollout has been very slow and gradual as it is said to involve carriers. But thanks to a nifty little hack, we were able to get it working on Airtel Kenya and Airtel Uganda.

How to enable RCS on Airtel Kenya and Airtel Uganda.

So we have tried this on MTN in Uganda and Safaricom in Kenya to little success. We were borderline throwing in the towel when viola. It worked.

Here’s what you need before you start;

  1. Turn off WiFi.
  2. Open the Activity Launcher app.
  3. Tap the dropdown up top and switch from “recent activities” to “all activities.”
  4. Scroll down to find “Messages.”
  5. Tap on it and find the “Set RCS Flags” activity. Select it to open the hidden RCS configuration settings in Google Messages.
  6. Select the dropdown under “ACS Url” and select the ‘http://rcs-acs-prod-us.sandbox.google.com/’ option.
  7. Go Home and clear Messages from your recent apps list. Open it back up and you should see a message at the bottom asking you to set up Chat. Accept it by tapping on “upgrade now.”
  8. After starting setup, re-enable WiFi and wait a few minutes. If successful, go to Settings > Chat features and it should say “Status: Connected” up top.

What are some of the cool RCS features?

Basically, RCS transforms your texting experience to be more like the once you get from WhatsApp or Telegram. You see when your text has been received and read, you see when the other person is typing. You can also send files and images. The limit is 105MB, a lot higher than MMS.

There is a catch though. The other person has to have RCS enabled for you to enjoy these features, otherwise the app resorts to the same old SMS. Also, messages sent through RCS are free of charge. If your chatmates all enable RCS, no more SMS bundles. How neat is that?

Troubleshooting:

If that didn’t work for you, then try these additional steps:

  1. Go to Settings > Apps and find “Carrier Services.” It’s a system app, so you’ll need to tap on the overflow menu and select “Show system apps.” Once you find it, clear data on the app.
  2. In Settings > Apps, find Messages and force stop it.
  3. Repeat steps #1-6 from above, but while you’re in the RCS configuration settings, expand the OTP Pattern dropdown and select ‘Your\sMessenger\sverification\scode\sis\sG-(\d{6}).’

A ton of people have already reported success following these steps. Perhaps Google is getting ready for a broader rollout of RCS.

Are you interested in RCS? Does the prospect of an Android equivalent of iMessage excite you? Talk to us in the comment section.