Verizon ditches Group Messaging on Windows Phone

With the same phone launching on many carriers, we sometimes get an illustration of how carriers configure things differently. Sometimes they do it for financial reasons, other times because of network compatibility. We're not sure which 'Group Messaging' falls under but evidently if you're on Verizon, you are surrendering that feature as compared to your AT&T, T-Mobile or unlocked brethren. 

The Verizon HTC 8X, which gains wireless charging, appears to have lost the ability to send group messages. To clarify, this is a setting whereby the OS groups your SMS messages together for you and your friends chats. It actually uses MMS to mass deliver the messages through some network trickery and our bet is that Verizon's CDMA system for SMS is just not up to handling this features--but that's just merely a guess on our part. Regardless of the cause, the results are the same as evidenced by the above screenshot comparison: Verizon users have one less feature.

We have not verified if the Nokia Lumia 822 lack this feature too, though we assume that it does.

We suppose if big Red does figure out a way to do this they can always add it, but we're not too confident it will happen anytime soon. For more info, you can head into our forums where it is being actively discussed.

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been here covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics and ran the projectors at movie theaters, which has done absolutely nothing for his career.

  • Its time to switch to AT&T everyone lol
  • but if you switch to AT&T you won't have the phone feature.
  • Wtf u talking's there
  • Whooooooosh.
  • Right over his head.
  • I used to agree but AT&T's LTE service has been EXCELLENT for me since Lumia 900.
  • Not to mention at all that h+ is faster than vzw lte in many markets like my own
  • I have both jn Orlando and the speeds are not even comparable. VZW pulls about 7-12 while ATT pulls about 20-30.
  • Good to hear, i'm in Clermont, but i work in the Disney area. I'm gonna get the 920
  • Here, apparently HSPA+ on AT&T is about 4.5 Mbps, while LTE supposedly is 20+ Mbps. We're supposed to be getting LTE here on AT&T in early-2013.
  • ^LOL, good one
  • Such a lame attack on AT&T.  The **only** time I see people compaining about coverage is if they have an iPhone.  I am never without coverage with AT&T.  Don't get me wrong, I have plenty to complain about with AT&T, but in my opinon, ALL of carriers suck so much, it's like they enter into collusion to purposefully deliver poor customer experiences.  Coverage though, that's just hype, in my experience. What I don't understand is the religious devotion to a paid signal provider.  I'd switch carriers in a heartbeat to get the equipment that I wanted or a better price or whatever.   
  • True!
  • This isn't a network problem and hopefully they will add it in through an update. My friends have iPhones on Verizon with group messaging and I have group messaging on my AT&T Lumia 920. So it seems they just left it out of the phone for whatever reason. 
  • Any chance this has something to do with Data Sense?
  • 822 same way. But you can still setup a group.
  • When your group replies, does it remain a group thread or do you see all the replies in their own threads?
  • Group replies stay in the group thread.  Although if a person on the thread does not have group messaging capabilities, it shows up as a separate text to you only.
  • My friends and family who are on Verizon receive AT&T group texts as an individual text, and only see the messages from the original sender, not the group replies. They have Android phones, if that matters.
  • Same for my friend. I thought it was just her version of Android, but I guess Verizon just doesn't support it.
  • Actually Android doesn't support group messaging at all regardless of the carrier.
    While I was on sprint I could do group messages with my HTC arrive though. Maybe its just Verizon's network
  • Well the HTC Trophy (on Verizon) supports it...
  • Same here my thophy still has it and works? What's up with that I guess were going backwards with the 8x
  • Before my Lumia 920, I had an HTC Trophy on VZW.  It had the group messaging feature and worked fine with others sending group texts.
  • This feature os still present on the Trophy. Not sure why it isn't in the 8x.
  • Android doesn't support it from what I have seen.  I have a 2 friends with an iphone one with a windows phone and one with some android phone.  My friend with an android phone does not get group messages, he only sees the person who sent the message.
    He switched to a Winodows phone (8x on T-Mo) because of this.
  • I am on Verizon and have two friends on AT&T and we group chat with no problem. I have a trophy and they have iphones.
  • Sick of these damn carriers!
  • america :')
  • F- Yea!
  • Me too!! I don't like T-Mobile WP's... I might get me a GS3 tomorrow since stupid Samsung hasn't announced their Ativ S yet in the states...!!
  • So your gs3 will be without group messaging. 
  • I can confirm that the setting is missing from the Lumia 822 also.
  • I'm curious about Verizon's reasoning for doing so (or did they mistakenly disable it?). Considering how often I use this feature, I can't imagine Verizon users being too pleased with this.
  • Go to att
  • Meh. I didn't care for this anyway. Group message was on the iPhone 5 I just had for 2 months until getting this 8x last nite. All the group message caused was other folks not in my contacts texting me back "who is this".
  • +
  • Not for other people. Works great to organize meet ups and random conversations.
  • so how in the hell is MS going to be able to push updates directly to users with this kind of carrier crap?  Oh wait, news flash they aren't.
    BTW, is this disabled on the Trophy?
  • Do it a lot on my Trophy. 8X is looking a bit less lucrative at the moment...
  • No. The Trophy has group text available, although I never used it.
  • It works on the Trophy, but like someone above said it causes Android users to receive messages in a way where they dont know who the sender is. This feature only works on iPhone and Windows phone 7.5.
    Perhaps Microsoft removed it it depend on one less Apple created feature. I always thought it was a standard, but it looks like it isnt since Google refuses to implement something of the sort directly into Android.
    Either way, I use this on a daily basis and tell my Android phone using friends that their phones suck, so it'll be a pain in the ass to lose this functionality. So far i'm not seeing any good reasons to upgrade on Verizon. I think most of the baseline features of WP have regressed even though they've added a whole bunch of stuff most people wont use. The App situation may improve yes, but I want solid built in features over usage of a bunch of Apps. It's the main reason why people avoid the iPhone.
  • What is that a number on the call live tile??? The little 3 down there?! Please dont tell me that that this is the number for missed calls on windows phone 8 :(
  • Dinchy, I can confirm that 3 is a network operator. I'm in the UK on Three. Even when I have no missed calls, as long as I have signal my phone shows that on the phone tile.
  • No. That's the carrier. 3 in UK.
  • Ha, that's very tiny if it is!  Must be the carrier or something. 
  • oh sorry i forgot for a while that there stays the carrier :) and that there is acarrier "3" thanks for the info
  • I know your phone number now Daniel!! Lol.
  • Yeah, I was going to say...I dare you to call it and be shocked when it's not I who answers. Hint: that's the SMS center number for routing messages. Even still, my 8X has a tester SIM in it, not my real account ;)
  • I have this option on my Trophy, so it's not a capability issue.  I'm actually not fond of it.  It seems that not everyone I send to has that option, so if I send a message to a group, some replies come back in the thread, others don't.  It's inconsistent, making it kind of annoying.  Then I don't know whether to go to that group thread or the individual person to see a response later.
  • At standard iPhone and WP support group messaging if they have mms in their plan
  • Group messaging setting not showing up on the 822
  • That's interesting. I set up two groups for my golf league on my Verizon Trophy (two because I could only set up 30 people per group) and was able to sucessfully send SMS to them. Is Verizon blocking this feature? I know on their android phones they can send group messages to up to 10 people at a time. 
  • Besides....who the heck "group texts" on a smartphone anymore. That's why we have IM apps such as groupme or whatsapp
  • well if they werent charging so much for texting, the whatsapp and group mes of the world wouldnt exist. 
    They exist because at one point, ATT was charging $5 for 200 text and now charge $20 for unlimited. 
    For me, i had the $5 plan and held on to this plan after they killed it because i didnt want to opt into an unlimited plan.  The option was to keep my limited 200 text plan which was hard to keep the text count down,l go spend $20 on unlimited, or download whatsapp for free or 99 cents on iphone for unlimited texting.  I chose whatsapp. 
    If carriers didnt gouge for text and has group text, you wouldn t need a group me or whatsapp. 
  • this is just terrible.  group messaging is very important to a lot of people.  verizon's htc trophy had this feature, why get rid of it for wp8.  this is a deal breaker, i find myself in group chats way too often.  i didn't even think the carriers had the ability to disable core OS features like this that are included on every phone..
  • 1) The group messaging feature worked on the HTC Trophy w/ verizon, so it's not a network incompatibility issue.
    2) It works fine on the Verizon iPhone as well.
    So for some inexplicable reason, Verizon has removed this feature from their WP8 lineup.  It'd be nice to get a response from Verizon as to why.
  • People are saying it screws up on when Android devices receive them...they can't see the sender. It's not a universal system, evidently.
  • I use it primarily with my parents and sister and between the four of us there's 2 trophys, a droid 3 (w/ gingerbread), and a blackberry. The only one it doesn't work *flawlessly* on is dad's blackberry, but it's an older model that's he's gonna be replacing soon (probably with an 822) and even then the messages still go through.
    So unless something google changed something in ICS or Jelly Bean, I don't see what would cause it to be an issue.
  • Daniel - It's never worked right on Android.  Android still doesn't support the feature.  But it's always worked fine on iOS and Windows Phone regardless of what network you're on.  This is why I simply don't understand why Verizon would remove it when it worked fine on the one WP7 phone they carried.
  • Yeah, my android friend on tmobile always ruins the group chat
  • On a more positive note, isn't it awesome being able to do native screen shots like this to show people the difference on one carrier vs another. Sure couldn't do screenshots on Windows Phone 7.5, and I missed it every day having had an iPhone prior to Windows Phone. I really like that my Lumia 920 can do it, and just wish Microsoft would add rotation/orientation lock at the OS level as iOS and more and more Android phones now have that feature.
  • I keep seeing this "Send MMS Acknowledgement" option but I don't have that on my AT&T Lumia 920. Does anyone know why?
  • Just add contacts to a text. Its not hard. Spam texting is for duders.
  • to me this is 100% a deal breaker, i will absolutely not purchase a phone without group messaging...and i'm disappointed that i pay money to a carrier that would disable such a needed feature for absolutely no reason.  My iPhone 4 on VZ has it, apparently the Trophy has it as well.... I can't imagine their reasoning for turning it off.  I hope this is an error....
  • Yes, my trophy has it. With all the iPhones put there group messaging is a must just to be able to communicate with them
  • If thats the case you will be staying on iOS devices or android devices with a 3rd party app. It is software driven. Sadly I'm a bit frustrated with this too. Just picked up my FREE 822 and now I feel slightly cheated versus feeling lucky. :/
  • I'd be ok with it. I once inadvertently sent a message (essentially my number) to many people, meaning to reply to a comment.
  • Can't you just create a "Room" to get your group message fix?
  • This is how I assumed it would work too.  Can. Someone verify?
  • Good point
  • Rooms only work if everyonve is on WP8.
  • In the unveil they said they work with iPhones too.
  • Only certain features in the Rooms works with iOS.  I think it was limited to calendar sharing.
  • The bigger concern is why doesn't the AT&T version have the option for chat backup in that screenshot? That seems far more valuable to me.
  • Group messaging is flawed, it doesn't work like the groupme app, which is great.
  • It still works pretty well and I dont have to be "that guy" that begs all his friends to use group me
  • Exactly!
  • This is almost a deal breaker for my impending 8x purchase. Nothing is worse than when my android tmobile friend totally ruins a group text. I will be very upset of they did this on purpose
  • I went to VZW with my girl to pick up either the 8x or the Lumia but the 8x wad not going to be delivered till later in the day. The Lumia just looked cheap and overpriced. I asked him if she could upgrade(upgrade eligible on 12/15/12) early and he said no and to call customer service. I asked if she could use my old 900 on VZW LTE but he said he wouldn't know because he is in the real estate business? Well she is now dropping VZW and getting the 920 on my account instead. Good riddance to VZW and their overpriced phones!
  • Your 900 is on a GSM carrier and VZW is CDMA, so probably not
  • Glad I made the at&t speeds are good...loving the Lumia 920
  • Makes sense-- group messaging never worked on my sprint arrive, either.
  • Worked fine on my Arrive when I was w/ Sprint.
  • That's cool, but I was always getting replies in separate threads, could never keep it all straight. Never once worked right for me, and yeah I did have the MMS group messaging (whatever it was called) setting turned on. Didn't help for whatever reason. :(
  • Im on Orange in UK and i don't have the Group Message option either. Is this normal? Though i think i had this switched off on my Lumia 800 as is used MMS which isn't part of my call plan so cost me fortune.
  • Look how AT&T does not permit you to request SMS delivery confirmations unlike Verizon does.
    Does anybody know if this is a carrier decision or rather a firmware problem? The thing is that my Lumia 920 which I bought unlocked, carrier-free here in Germany also does not provide the "SMS delivery confirmation" setting. My Lumia 800 (also unlocked and carrier-free) does when I insert the very same SIM card. So I would be surprised if it's a carrier thing, but you never know these days...
  • I can do it on Verizon right now with my Trophy. Why wouldn't we be able to do it on newer models?
  • i was lookimg forward to my 8x but this is a feature i absolutely need. This whole mess is inexplicable and inexcusable. Possible VZ wants wp8 to fail? Is there any other plausible explanation?
  • Got response from Vz on twitter.  They confirm they're not offering Group MMS on Windows Phones.  Msft, Oem, & Mobile operators all shifting blame
  • Any word on if this is a forthcoming feature?
  • sounds like VZ is saying they wont offer it, but upgrade isn't impossible