The Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) is a new messaging service
that allows messages containing pictures, audio clips, text and in
the future, video, to be sent and received between one customer and
Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) is a store and forward messaging
service which allows cell phone subscribers to exchange multimedia
messages with other mobile subscribers. As such it can be seen as an
evolution of SMS, with MMS supporting the transmission of additional
Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) is an important emerging service,
which allows the sending of multiple media in a single message, and
the ability to send a message to multiple recipients at one time.
Just as the traditional short message service (SMS), multimedia
messaging service (MMS) provides automatic and immediate delivery of
personal messages. Unlike the SMS however, MMS allows mobile phone
users to enhance their messages by incorporating sound, images, and
other rich content, transforming it into a personalized visual and
But MMS technology offers more than just a broadening of message
content. With MMS, it is not only possible to send your multimedia
messages from one phone to another, but also from phone to email,
and vice versa. This feature dramatically increases the
possibilities of mobile communication, both for private and
The originator of the message, can easily create a Multimedia
Message, either using a built-in or accessory camera, or can use
images and sounds stored previously in the cell phone ( or possibly
downloaded from a site).
Several Multimedia Messages can be stored in the users handset and
reviewed or forwarded at a later date.
How MMS works: ------------------------------------------------------
Depending upon the mobile operator, a typical example of how MMS
messages are sent and received between two compatible MMS mobile
phones is :
1: Using an MMS compatible phone, take a picture.
2: Use your mobile phone to personalize the message by adding text,
voice or sound clip
3: Send the MMS message
On a compatible cell phone, the MMS message will appear with a new
message alert. The picture message will open on the screen, the text
will appear below the image and the sound, if any, plays
Comparison of MMS with SMS: -----------------------------------------
SMS messages are not delivered in real time because they follow
the 'store and forward' model. All SMS messages first get sent to
the SMSC (Short Message Service Centre) from where they are routed
to the recipient. MMSC (Multi Media Service Centre) performs an
analogous function to the SMSC for the purposes of this discussion.
Like SMS messages, MMS messages are also not delivered in real time.
However the actual interaction in the delivery of MMS messages is
different from that of SMS.
SMS messages delivery is quite simple - SMS messages get sent first
to the SMSC and if the SMSC can deliver the message immediately to
the recipient, the message is sent to them.
However, the steps for MMS are different:
The sender sends a message to the MMSC
When the MMSC receives the message, the MMSC sends confirmation. The
sender then gets a 'message sent'.
MMSC sends the receiver a notification that a new message is waiting
The receiver can then download the message immediately or download
it later. Once the message is successfully downloaded, the receiver
gets a 'Message Received' indication.
Once the receiver has successfully downloaded the message, the
sender gets a 'Message Delivered' message.
SMS uses signalling links that have limited spare capacity. MMS uses
main data channels (initially GPRS) that enable multimedia messages
to be sent.
Both SMS and MMS are store and forward systems and are not real
Unlike SMS, MMS can use user profiles to determine when content
should be delivered - for example a user may choose to receive
certain messages after working hours.
MMS can undertake format conversion based on terminal
characteristics and user profile. This does not apply to SMS.
In the SMS environment, storage of messages is not an issue since
the size of a message is small and the issue of storing a message
arises only when the recipient is not available (which is the
exception rather than the rule). In contrast, MMS messages can be
larger. Also, they may be stored in the recipient's MMSC for longer
(since they may not be downloaded immediately). This introduces a
cost. Further, users may like to 'store the message' more
permanently There is an opportunity for storage companies to provide
such services for example photo albums.
Unlike the SMSC, design of the MMSC is not monolithic. Hence, MMSC
design comprises multiple elements. An operator may mix and match
these elements from various vendors.
Access to MMS messages should be independent of access points - MMS
messages could be accessed through 3G, 2G networks, fixed line
SMS does not have a concept of a user profile whereas in MMS, the
user profile is central since it determines when a message will be
downloaded for example. This is because MMS messages are larger and
are not delivered immediately to the recipient.
Although MMS encompasses a wide range of content types, it is a
logical extension of SMS, making it easily adoptable for today's
generation of mobile users. Another advantage of MMS is that the
message is a multimedia presentation in a single entry, not a text
file with attachments, making it much simpler and user-friendly.
MMS Supports most Applications: -------------------------------------
? Unlimited text that can be formatted.
? Text can be accompanied by images, graphics, sound and in future
? Support for Graphs, tables, charts, diagrams and layouts.
? Support for animated GIFs.
? Support for music, speech.
? Support for streaming sound.
? Sending images and snapshots from an attached or built in digital
? Ability to edit images and add text.
? The ultimate goal of MMS is the ability to send video (over a full
? The ability to send a simple 30-second clip has enticing
applications especially in the sports and media arena.
The MMS standard lists JPEG, GIF, text, AMR voice, and other formats
as supported media types, while unsupported formats are handled in a
controlled way. Like SMS, MMS is an open industry standard, and MMS
messages can be delivered using existing networks and protocols. MMS
is also bearer-independent, which means it is not limited to GSM or
Drawbacks of MMS: ---------------------------------------------------
The speed of MMS transmission, although quick, is still dependent on
the message size and on the bearer used. However, since the receiver
is not aware of the ongoing transmission before the message has been
delivered, the delay is imperceptible, making MMS as convenient to
use as SMS.
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