Something to look forward to: Nearly 26 years later, SMS is being superseded by Rich Communication Services. Verizon may be slow to deliver the feature to all customers, but the new service will eventually make messaging less restricted and more reliable.
SMS has been the standard for text messaging ever since the first message was sent in 1992. December 6 marks the day when Verizon will be rolling out Rich Communication Services or rather RCS, to its subscribers. In the beginning, only Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL owners using Android Messages will be receiving support.
Note that Verizon is calling the feature Chat instead of RCS to make the feature marketable to wider audiences.
In order to actually take advantage of RCS, both the sender and receiver must have support. Additionally, both users must be on Verizon. Sending or receiving RCS between different carriers is not yet supported. A "Universal Profile" exists for RCS that will allow all carriers to work towards full interoperability of the new service.
Instead of being billed as individual messages, carriers are expected to count RCS against data usage allotments. Fortunately, sending plaint text uses hardly any data. Support for sending large files over RCS could make hitting data caps much easier.
Samsung and Google are ensuring that Galaxy phones will seamlessly integrate RCS into Samsung Messages. At some point when the implementation is complete, the majority of Android users will be able to take advantage of extra messaging features such as typing indicators, read receipts, and extremely large group chats without having to use third party apps. Apple has kept very quiet about whether there are any plans to make iPhones RCS compatible.
Upon official rollout, there will be a server side update. End users of supported devices will not receive any additional over the air software updates.
See Verizon's official statement on the matter below.
Verizon and Google will be rolling out enhanced messaging (RCS) in the Messages app on Google Pixel 3 and Google Pixel 3 XL beginning this Thursday, December 6th. This messaging service brings, for example, typing indicators, very large group chats and the ability to transfer large files between the owners of these smartphones.