Duplicate Text Messages When Using RCS or VoLTE – workaround

Some Android mobile devices are experiencing an intermittent issue with sending duplicate text/SMS or chat/RCS messages with at least some mobile wireless providers.  Here is more information and a workaround for some devices.

Some examples were a Samsung Android device with Samsung Messages App on the Bell network and option to enable RCS disabled, A Samsung Android device with Messages App on Rogers and two new Google Pixel devices on Rogers.

RCS (Rich Communication Services) is a new messaging service for at least Android devices that some wireless carriers have implement to supplement regular SMS / MMS.  It is aka RCS Chat and more closely matches the features available in Apple’s iMessage, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger. With RCS, you’ll be able to send richer, more engaging text messages than you could on SMS.  More details here.

One solution that worked for some phones and carriers is a RCS setting.

In the Android or Samsung Messages (Texting) App:  On main Messages screen (inbox not in a coversation screen) Go to the 3-dot menu  (top right)–> settings–> chat features–> resend messages if undelivered–> Change to “Ask before resending”.

On some Apps it might be settings–> Advanced–> Chat Features …

Until the root issue fixed this workaround sets Messages to prompt to resend a message if it not detected as sent within in a specified time.  In some cases you can wait a bit before resending and the first message may arrive on its own.

On the Samsung phone Bell with latest Samsung Messages App available it was not possible to enable Chat features (RCS).  It said it was disabled by your carrier. 

In some cases RCS Chat may not be disabled but it a problem on the device.  Here is some troubleshooting information.  Turn on chat features in Messages

Here is the experience of someone else and their take on the issue.

I am experiencing intermittent duplicate text/SMS and chat/RCS messages to another person on the Rogers network. We both recently upgraded to Google Pixel 2 phones giving access to Rogers VoLTE and Wifi Calling services. Prior to this we both used RCS without issue, but had different phones and no LTE+ / LTE-A / Enhanced LTE access. I believe I’ve found a workaround / solution to the duplicate messages. I believe there are issues with the Google Jibe RCS software and the carrier’s (Rogers / Bell / Sprint / etc) SMS/MMS software not communicating with each other when a resend after timeout failure occurs and the RCS message is resent as SMS and then RCS again.

By default, if the RCS chat message fails to send it will follow the default setting of “Resend as SMS/RCS when not roaming” and it will resend the message as SMS. Likely the RCS arrives later as an Internet RCS chat message. First RCS attempt via cellular data which fails and tells the carrier to send as SMS. Second resend as Internet Wifi RCS message which arrives later (and should not have been sent).

This setting to promot before resending will not affect your ability to send and receive from people who you normally SMS/MMS text message.

Rogers support also said the following regarding a sending phone without RCS enabled.

Then it might be coming from the phone on the senders side, sending out via LTE and 3G by error, that maybe why you getting multiples. If you can try turning off their VoLTE just to test it out, that would be a good start. If you can find the settings for the VoLTE, just turn that off to test it, if not, you can switch it to 3G under Mobile Networks to test it.

About Kevin Yaworski

I use my blog to write about things that I think are a matter of public interest or that I think others will be interested in
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