Friday, March 16, 2007



Multimedia messaging services (MMS) transforms the simple limited text messaging that has been with us for years into an entertaining, relationship building experience through a convergence of text, music, video, pictures and animated graphics.

The possibilities with MMS are endless. If well deployed by a wireless carrier in conjunction with content providers and mobile application developers, it gives a stream of revenue that is predicted by research trends observed in our recent time to surpass SMS and MIM(Mobile Instant Messaging). I’ll cover MIM in brief in another blog.

Rich text, colored, formatted, expressive non-limited character range text (remember SMS is limited to 160 characters) are the rich package that comes with MMS.
Music, of MP3 format including the ability to sample music on the network.
Video, full length video possibilities are not present in many phones although this will be available to a majority of the 4 billion mobile phone users in developing countries in the far future (Apple’s iPhone to be released this month with full length holding capability is one such product but for sure, it won’t come cheap while still hot!)
Animation, just imagine, the power of powerpoint presentations creating lots of new business opportunities for you and I as well as the ability to make framed pictures and sending them as presentations. At your fingertip is a medium that transmits the creative impulse without much prodding.

Among the above would be logos, ringtones, screens built to support MMS that cover the full color spectrum. Except for the full length videos, most of the features above are already present in our phones, so is MMS sending and receiving ability.

MMS works on broadband (3G) networks and GPRS networks which our wireless carriers support. If your phone is built for MMS sending or receiving capability, then SMS and its limitations have met a revolutionary messaging alternative! But that doesn’t mean SMS isn’t going to fight back.

To send MMS, you could do it from your phone (called MO or mobile originating device) to another phone. This is an MO to MO MMS messaging use case. One could also send it from a network mobile application (an MT or mobile terminating device) to a MO. Whichever way this is done, your wireless carrier has a MMSC (MMS centre) which operates on a store and forward basis when it captures an MMS sent to an MO in its subscriber database.

The store and forward framework works this way: an MMS destined for your cellphone when it gets to the MMSC initiates the sending of an SMS notification to your cellphone and stores the original message for you so that in case your phone is switched off for problems of battery, non-reception of signal or any other extenuating circumstance, the SMS notification is received by you. You then decide when you want to receive the message. When the MMSC receives your request for the MMS content, it is sent formatted according to the capability of your device.

The opportunity for business, advertisement and the ability of MMS to leverage other medias is immense and this will be covered in future blogs in relation to the Nigerian mobile ecosystem.

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