Definition

Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS)

Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) - sometimes called Multimedia Messaging System - is a communications technology developed by 3GPP (Third Generation Partnership Project) that allows users to exchange multimedia communications between capable mobile phones and other devices. An extension to the Short Message Service (SMS) protocol, MMS defines a way to send and receive, almost instantaneously, wireless messages that include images, audio, and video clips in addition to text. When the technology has been fully developed, it will support the transmission of streaming video. A common current application of MMS messaging is picture messaging (the use of camera phones to take photos for immediate delivery to a mobile recipient). Other possibilities include animations and graphic presentations of stock quotes, sports news, and weather reports.

According to MobileStreams, MMS will be developed in two separate phases. Based on General Packet Radio Services (GPRS), the currently available MMS is similar to a brief PowerPoint presentation. The second phase of MMS will require a 3G network to enable streaming video. An intermediate technology, Enhanced Messaging Service (EMS) has more capabilities than SMS, but fewer than MMS. Unlike MMS, EMS doesn't require upgrades to network infrastructures. Unlike SMS and EMS, the size of an MMS message is unlimited, although service providers are likely to impose their own size restrictions.

MMS-capable devices are available from a number of vendors, including Ericsson, Motorola, and Nokia.

This was last updated in May 2007
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

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