Real-Time Text

Giving a new “voice” to the hearing and speech impaired community

For decades, people with a range of hearing and speech impairments had depended on teletypewriter devices (TTY) to communicate by text over phone lines. Then came the smartphone revolution and the freedom of mobile text messaging, facilitated by user-friendly features like touchscreens and keyboards. Bulky TTY terminals were no longer required. Now, with the development of Real-time Text (RTT), an even more authentic conversational experience is available on select smartphones at UScellular™.

RTT has real advantages over TTY and traditional texting

With Real-Time Text, every character is transmitted and received as it is typed, so thoughts can be communicated by the sender and recipient with the immediacy and flow of an actual voice conversation. There is no longer a need to use the “send” button. While these are particularly important benefits for hearing and speech impaired users, anyone can enjoy the speed and interactive advantages that RTT offers over traditional texting.

RTT also supports a broader range of characters than TTY devices. With access to symbols like emojis and multiple languages built into smartphones, messages can be understood faster without the need for lengthy explanations. This is especially critical in an emergency, when every second can count. State and local 9-1-1 emergency call centers are in the process of upgrading to RTT technology, while continuing to support TTY communications.

To be eligible for RTT you need to have:
  • An eligible device
  • HD Voice enabled on your device
  • The minimum software version on your device shown below:
Android Smartphones that support RTT
Manufacturer Device Name Device Model Minimum Software Version
Samsung S20 5G SM-G981U G981USQU1BTJ7
Galaxy S20+ 5G SM-G986U G986USQU1BTJ7
Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G SM-G988U G988USQU1BTJ7

To see your device's current software version, select:
Settings App > About Phone > Software Information > Baseband Version

To install the latest software version on your device, select:
Settings App > Software Update > Download and Install

Note: If you purchased one of these devices before October 26, 2020 at UScellular, please contact a Customer Service Associate by dialing 611 from your UScellular phone to enable RTT or visit a company-owned store.

For new UScellular device purchases or activations after this date, RTT can be accessed directly by following these steps from the phone dialer:

  • Tap on the 3 dots in the upper-right corner of the screen
  • Select Real Time Text
  • Tap on "OFF" to toggle the RTT feature to "ON"


Still have questions?

For more details about RTT, visit the FCC site.

Current UScellular customers - dial 611 from your UScellular phone or visit a local company-owned store.