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Verizon on Friday launched My Numbers, a new service that allows customers to manage up to five lines — four of them virtual phone numbers — on a single smartphone via a standalone app. The largest wireless carrier in the U.S. by subscribers separately announced plans to roll out support for RCS texting in early 2019.
Verizon has announced a new service coming to Android and iOS devices known as "My Numbers," which allows four additional lines to be added to a single device for a total of five active lines.
Each line runs $15 a month and comes with unlimited calling and texting as well as its own voicemail inbox and text messaging service, all of which are available within the My Numbers app. Outbound calls are limited to numbers within the U.S., though inbound calls can originate from both domestic and international destinations, making the solution ideal for users communicating with people living abroad.
My Numbers is available for personal lines, but prepaid accounts are omitted.
"My Numbers is a great solution for entrepreneurs, customers with side hustles, and for those who just want the convenience and flexibility of having multiple phone numbers without the hassle of carrying around a separate phone," said Keena Grigsby, director of product marketing for Verizon.
Apple includes dual-SIM support in iOS 12.1 for the iPhone XR, XS and XS Max that allows two lines to be tied to a single device. The hardware solution can also be used to carry separate personal and business lines, or a separate line while traveling, on one device. Thus far, no major U.S. carrier has added support for the feature.
At a GSMA event this week, Verizon announced plans to start rolling out initial support for Rich Communications Services, the heir-apparent to SMS, next year, reports The Verge.
Speaking during the event, Aparna Khurjekar, Verizon's SVP of consumer products, shared news that RCS will arrive in "early 2019."
Rich Commnications Services, or RCS, is the new messaging standard that will inevitably replace SMS as carriers and handset makers start to implement the updated protocol. There've been many revisions over the years, but global carriers finally came together to support the Universal Profile in 2016.
This will have less of an impact on iOS users who primarily use iMessage as their means of conversing. Android users have much to look forward to as Google plans to use RCS Chat as the basis of their own messaging system that would include additional features such as typing indicators, read receipts, larger media sizes, and group chats.
Apple has thus far been steadfast in keeping iMessage tied to the Apple ecosystem and has benefits of its own such as full end-to-end encryption.
Once carriers update their systems to support the "Universal Profile", RCS Chat will allow messages to easily traverse between carriers around the globe. Currently in the U.S., both Verizon and AT&T use proprietary systems for their texts. By adopting the same standard, it is a way of ensuring that users of any device on any carrier have a consistent set of features.
It isn't likely that iPhone will get support for RCS at launch, though the service could see adoption in a few years.