Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS)

The advent of Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) has standardized the sending and receiving of multimedia content from mobile phones and handhelds. It has extended the core capability of Short Message Service that allowed exchange of 160-character text messages and has since become a popular method of delivering photographs, text content, videos, web pictures etc.

The standard for MMS was developed by OMA (Open Mobile Alliance); during the various stages of development it was a part of the WAP and 3GPP groups.

Captive technology

MMS was initially developed as a ‘captive technology’ that allowed service providers to charge a fee each time a picture, photo or video was attached to a text message. However, technical issues and glitches, such as non-delivery or receiving MMS in the wrong formats or an absent element like sound, plagued the earliest deployments.

At the MMS World Congress in Vienna in 2004, the top discussion on the agenda was the representation made by European mobile operators that MMS had failed to produce any substantial revenues for their networks. Part of the problem was compounded by the fact that the most common use of MMS related to adult oriented content and services.

China became one of the earliest countries to make MMS a marketable commodity with relative success through the use of its camera phones that had MMS capability. The GSM Association Mobile Asia Congress in 2009 saw China Mobile claim that utilization of MMS was on par with text messaging services.

The most advanced market for MMS in Europe has been Norway. At a staggering 84% usage level of all registered mobile subscribers, Norwegian MMS messages topped world averages. By the end of the first decade in the Millennium, the number of MMS messages tallied over 50 billion and the usage level had crossed 1.3 billion active MMS users. Global revenues added up to 26 billion dollars.

However, it is intriguing to note that there are several challenges faced with MMS messages against SMS messages. The obvious ones are:

• Bulk messaging
• Content adaptation
• Distribution lists
• Handset configuration
• WAP Push

Older and established calling and messaging services like Skype and Facebook Messenger are increasingly being threatened by new mobile messaging apps that include Line, MessageMe, TextMe and Viber. At a glance, it is rather difficult to sift through the saturated category of mobile apps and choose the one that is ideal.

Here it is worth taking a look at the ten best apps; nearly all provide some format of free SMS or voice calling facility through the user’s Smartphone plan or via Wi-Fi.

1. Line Mobile Messaging
2. WhatsApp
3. Viber
4. MessageMe
5. Voxer
6. HeyTell
7. TextNow
8. Talkatone
9. Keek
10. Snapchat

Mobile messages like MMS and SMS are becoming big revenue earners as competition between established messaging apps services and new ones is growing steadily to meet rising global demands for free messaging and call services. Such services are useful in programming messages at your convenience and time to send a friendly ‘ Good Morning SMS [] ‘ or ‘Good Night SMS’ to a friend or business partner halfway round the globe.

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