Telstra say it is "evolving the humble SMS with the introduction of Telstra Messaging on leading Android mobile devices, giving customers access to popular messaging features from a single inbox – without the need to download additional apps".
We're told that "Telstra Messaging is built on a standard called Rich Communication Services and includes features like group chat, file sharing, read receipts, and simplifies messaging by combining SMS, MMS, chat and voicemail all in a single inbox – delivering a more streamlined experience".
That means this isn't a new app, as such. Telstra says "customers don’t need to download software to benefit from the technology. It is automatically activated and the features are available when messaging another customer with a compatible smartphone".
In essence, an Android version of Apple's Visual Voicemail at last, in the sense that you get an audio file you can play.
So, what Samsung handsets are compatible, and when will other Androids on the Telstra network get similar features?
Telstra tells us "Telstra Messaging will be rolled-out progressively to customers using Samsung S7, S7 Edge, S8 and S8+ handsets from this week".
Meanwhile, "additional Android smartphones [will] be enabled in the coming months".
Jeremy Howe, Telstra’s head of Product Innovation, said Telstra Messaging is another way Telstra is introducing Australian-first technology to make it easier for customers to connect and share.
“Today’s announcement signifies the next step in the introduction of data-driven mobile capabilities and a great demonstration of how we’re building the network for the future. Telstra has pioneered the integration of next generation voice and video calling capabilities like 4G and Wi-Fi Calling on smartphones in Australia, being the first to roll out these technologies to customers.
“With RCS now established, we’re continuing to evolve the network to bring more exciting voice, video and messaging features to our customers that will integrate directly into handsets, tablets and computing devices in the future.”
Garry McGregor, director of IT and mobile at Samsung Electronics Australia, said they’re incredibly proud to have partnered with Telstra to develop and deliver rich communication services for the latest Galaxy devices on the Telstra network.
“Samsung is constantly working to deliver the best possible combined device and network experience for our Australian Galaxy customers and we do this through ongoing collaboration and technologies like rich communications services,” McGregor added.
Telstra Messaging will be available to Consumer, Business and Enterprise customers.
Here's Telstra's video on how it all works: