Real-time Text

Real-time text (RTT) is a feature that can make it easier for customers with hearing or speech impairments to carry on a conversation through text.

With standard text messaging, you have to compose an entire message, hit Send and then wait for a reply. But with real-time text, each character is transmitted immediately as it’s typed. So it’s as if you’re having a conversation “in real time.” Since there’s no delay between sending and receiving messages, and because you can talk and text simultaneously over the same connection, RTT can feel like a more natural form of communication than TTY or text messaging.

Unlike TTY, there’s no need for a separate device. As long as your Verizon Wireless phone supports RTT, you can send and receive real-time text using only your smartphone. (Note: If the person you’re calling does not have RTT or TTY enabled on their device, the call will be voice only.)

Real-time text is available on the following Verizon Wireless devices:

To learn how to change the RTT settings on your device, please check out our step-by-step guides:

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Real-time Text FAQs

Can I use RTT on my Verizon phone?

Yes. You can use RTT with Verizon if you have a phone that supports RTT and your plan includes voice minutes.

If you currently have a data-only plan and would like to use RTT, you will need to switch to a voice plan. To change plans, visit My Verizon.

How do I use RTT?

Instructions vary by device, so check out the step-by-step guide for your phone to learn more:

Generally, you’ll follow these steps to make an RTT call:

  1. Enable RTT on your device from within the Settings menu.
  2. Then, when you make a call, it will either default to RTT or allow you to add RTT while dialing or during the call.
  3. Enter a message to begin your conversation.
  4. When you’re done, end the call as you normally would by pressing the End icon.

How is RTT different from text messaging?

RTT and text messaging both use text input, but beyond that, these services are rather different.

RTT is more like having a phone conversation in real time. Here’s how:

  • With real-time text, each character is transmitted immediately as it’s typed. So there’s no need to press the Send key. And there’s no waiting for a message to arrive. You are able to read the other person’s message as they are typing it – and vice versa.
  • When you place an RTT call, the other person needs to answer before the call can begin. And when you’re finished, both callers hang up.
  • You may be able to add voice to an RTT call depending on the device the other person is using. You can then communicate using talk and text at the same time.

Is RTT better than TTY?

RTT is a newer technology with more advanced features than TTY. Here are some advantages of RTT compared to TTY:

  • Unlike TTY, which requires users to take turns, with RTT both parties can send and receive text at the same time.1
  • RTT is more reliable than TTY1 since messages are carried over Verizon’s nationwide 4G LTE network.
  • Compared to TTY, RTT provides you with additional characters to choose from – international characters, emojis and the “@” symbol, for example.1
  • You can make RTT calls using just your mobile phone (as long as it is RTT-capable). Unlike TTY, you don’t need a separate device to make RTT calls.

1. "Real-Time Text: Improving Accessible Telecommunications," Federal Communications Commission. https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/real-time-text-improving-accessible...

Who can I call using RTT?

With an RTT-capable phone you can call almost anyone else who can make and receive RTT or TTY calls, including wireless customers on networks other than Verizon’s. But please be aware that you may face some limitations when calling someone on some other wireless networks, on older wireless networks (3G and earlier) or someone who is using a TTY device.

Here are some specific cases:

  • TTY: You can place RTT calls to TTY users. However, a TTY device does not support the real-time aspect of RTT and may not be able to render all RTT characters properly.
  • 911: You can call 911 using RTT. However, dispatchers may answer using a TTY device. So your conversation won’t support the real-time aspect of RTT and certain characters may not be rendered properly on the dispatcher’s end.
  • 711: You can call relay services using RTT. There may be RTT settings to make calls via 711 relay services easier. These calls may face the same limitations as other calls to TTY devices described above.
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