This article originally appeared in the March 2011 issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY.
About three years ago AT&T (News - Alert) introduced a service called VideoShare. The idea of allowing cell phone users to send instantly one-way video to other mobile subscribers during a call was radical at the time. As a result, AT&T had to explain that this VideoShare service would be useful if a mobile subscriber wanted to share an experience like a parade or a visit to the museum, or to show someone else something in a shop window.
Of course, sharing both video and still pictures over mobile and fixed connections is commonplace. Still, there seems to be a lot of confusion over the success of and potential for MMS, or multimedia messaging service.
Pieter de Villiers, CEO of Clickatell (News - Alert), which offers companies the ability to send SMS messages anywhere in the world via a broadband-equipped computer, says that MMS has had both failures and successes around the world. MMS will always be a way for vendors to monetize something that looks and feels like SMS, he says, but with MMS you need a data plan and 2.5G/GPRS technology support in your endpoint “so that was kind of like death by a thousand cuts.”
Even today, he adds, only about 350 million smartphones have data plans vs. 5 billion mobile devices supporting SMS. That’s why he thinks MMS will be leap frogged by mobile media and related technology.
However, Portio Research indicates in a recent study that MMS is alive and well, and positioned for future growth.
“Today MMS, often cited as a failure, is a massive revenue-generating segment of the market,” according to Portio. “Full year revenues for 2009 amount to almost $27 billion, an impressive figure, and lest people forget, not far off what SMS was generating a mere 5 years ago.”
The report goes on to say that MMS is growing fast in all major regions worldwide as affordable camera-equipped handsets flood the market and become mainstream.
SouthernLINC Wireless (News - Alert), a regional wireless carrier serving the southeastern U.S., is one of the companies getting in on the MMS act.
Damian Sazama, vice president of marketing and public Relations at Interop (News - Alert) Technologies, says that the service provider is using Interop’s hosted multimedia message service center to enable subscribers to do unlimited picture messaging between networks.
"We are pleased to help SouthernLINC Wireless expand its offerings by providing our MMSC, as well as inter-carrier connectivity, to support the company's iDEN technology," says Fred Farrell, vice president sales for North America at Interop Technologies. "Our solutions will help SouthernLINC Wireless further increase its competitive edge and capture available MMS revenue."
Interop’s service supports all 3GPP/3GPP2 audio-video formats and MMS-capable handsets based on the CDMA, iDEN and GSM air interfaces.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi