Last year MMS was launched on a broad scale in a number of countries. The use of Multimedia Messaging Services is still the wireless industry?s best hope for user adoption of non-voice services.
But dangers from alternative technologies are looming. If operators do not offer content providers a fair deal, MMS could be replaced by Java as the next big thing for premium services. Leading wireless advisor Northstream lists three key factors for the success of MMS.
MMS is a technology that is as easy to use as SMS, but allows not only the sending and receiving of text messages, but also of pictures, sounds and graphics. The big service event last year was the broad launch of MMS. So far the penetration and usage of MMS has been hampered by a number of factors; lack of usability and cool services, low interoperability between phones and between networks, unclear and uncoordinated pricing. At the same time, user-friendliness has not been as high as expected.
-The big breakthrough for MMS still lies ahead, but there are already a number of successful cases that indicate real consumer demand for MMS, says Anders Lindqvist, senior advisor at Northstream.
-In Japan Multimedia messaging is used by millions of consumers, in Italy 20 million MMS messages have so far been sent and in Germany there is a huge demand for camera phones.
So far the new terminals with colour screens, polyphonic sound and games have shown consumers that something new is being offered on the market. While MMS terminals are certainly being promoted, however, there is a lack of attractive MMS services. With a promising start but a long way to go, the success of MMS will be decided by:
- Interoperability between networks and between terminals
- Usability and attractiveness of services
- Pricing of terminals and services
When it comes to services, a lot remains to be done. Operators and content owners have to offer hesitant content providers a fair deal, says Anders Lindqvist. - If not, content providers might choose to go for Java, which has been a success in Japan and Korea. This development would circumvent the operators in the value web.