Aust & NZ
This page looks at MMS - variously identified as Multimedia
Messaging Systems or Multimedia Messaging Service and
sometimes characterised as a successor to SMS.
It covers -
MMS involves delivery to a mobile
phone (or to a device such as a PDA) of what is often
characterised as 'rich messaging' or multimedia presentations.
Those presentations include pictures, animated postcards,
screensavers, greeting cards,
maps (more useful than the internet toaster),
cartoons and business cards. MMS messages can feature
text, sound, and moving/still images. They are typically
designed for a small screen, rather than for a desktop
monitor or traditional television screen.
The messages can originate from a database (eg that of
a network operator or a third party, typically being sent
to many consumers) or from the device of one consumer
to another individual or handful of contacts.
As of 2005 global uptake of MMS has disappointed most
enthusiasts. Expectations in 2002/3 were that consumer
demand for multimedia services would -
large-scale upgrading of consumer devices, with people
abandoning old mobile phones in favour of new MMS-capable
the billion dollar prices paid by telecommunication
network operators for 3G licenses or their competitors
in emergence of a thriving 'rich media industry', as
creatives and advertisers switched from television and
the desktop web to delivery of advertisements and services
to mobile phones
a wide range of person-to-person and value-added applications,
including photo-messaging, 'm-greeting cards' and 'm-postcards',
interactive games, map and directory services, news
services, adult content and dating services.
vision - along with hopes for large-scale mobile
commerce - has not been substantiated.
Uptake of MMS is low and primarily restricted to person-to-person
applications, in particular sending photos taken with
that phone/PDA to the owner's family or friends. Few commercial
services make use of MMS.
Low uptake appears to reflect -
network charges, particularly for messages sent from
one network to another
of infrastructure in some network locations, for example
outside major cities or commuter spines
in exchanging messages from network to another
with other technologies, including SMS, email, Bluetooth
of premium MMS offerings
discomfort in using a technology that is more complex
2005 study by Finland's telecoms regulator FICORA for
example indicated that voice calls and text messages were
still the main drivers of usage, with few respondents
in its surveyreporting interest in multimedia messaging,
mobile internet services, mobile email access or mobile
tv. 98% of Finns own a mobile phone; around 47% have
replaced their fixed line connection with a mobile.
MMS embodies an open industry standard, created by the
global Third Generation Partnership Program (3GPP)
consortium and the WAP Forum.
MMS, like SMS standard, involves store-and-forward transmission
of messages. Communication thus does not necessarily occur
consistently on an instantaneous basis. It centres on
SMIL (Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language), an
XML-based protocol that enables creation and transmission
of PowerPoint-style presentations over a mobile device.
Users are able to customise text and display set-up, timing
of page presentations and the order of images and animations.
Sending images rather than unformatted text means that
MMS files are typically much larger than SMS. A typical
SMS message might be 140 bytes in size, in contrast to
the average MMS presentation of around 50,000 bytes.