MX Telecom MMS Gateway

What MMS services does MX Telecom offer?

MX Telecom's MMS Gateway allows mobile content providers to send and receive multimedia messages (MMS) that include text, images, audio, graphics and video.

MX Telecom offers Bulk Operator MMS sending services on all the main UK networks. This enables content providers to send MMS messages to end users through MX Telecom's direct connections to mobile operators' Multimedia Messaging Service Centres (MMSCs), with the multimedia content appearing as an MMS on the end user's handset.

The end user does not have to pay for downloading the message as this cost is borne by the content provider as part of the Bulk MMS charge.

So what what can I do with MMS?

The mobile messaging market has come a long way since the advent of SMS over ten years ago. Since then we have had advanced SMS in the form of Smart Messaging (like EMS) and we now see the next phase in mobile data services; Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS).

MMS messages can be sent not only from phone to phone, but also from phone to email and vice versa. When sending an SMS, the main method for message addressing is using phone numbers (i.e. numeric addressing), but MMS also provides the capability of email addressing (alphanumeric addressing).

MMS can be thought of as a highly developed extension of SMS and therefore is easy for current mobile phone users to adapt to. Each message is a multimedia presentation in a single entry rather than a text file with attachments, and it is therefore a simple and user friendly method of sending messages containing multimedia content.

MMS is also bearer independent. This means it is not limited to GSM or WCDMA networks.

Some examples of MMS applications include:

  • Subscription services - for example, to daily weather forecasts that include images of maps and weather symbols rather than just text

  • Mapping services displaying directions and location data. An extension of this could include virtual tour guides, displayed via an MMS slide show

  • Photo messaging of new properties to prospective estate agent customers

  • Interactive Marketing - display images (such as logos), text and audio that form part of particular advertising campaigns

MMS in the market today

The success of MMS as a medium relies on several factors. In the past MMS adoption by end users has been particularly hampered by the lack of compatible handsets in the marketplace. However, the number of MMS enabled handsets being introduced to the market is increasing rapidly (by default most new handsets sold tend to be GPRS, WAP and MMS compatible) and so the opportunities for MMS are rising considerably. The most prominent and obvious of these services is photo messaging, as promoted with great emphasis by the European mobile network operators.

However, handsets that are not MMS compatible will continue to be used. If an MMS is sent to a handset that is not compatible, the end user will receive an SMS notifying them that they have received an MMS. The MMS can then be retrieved from a specified website where it is stored.

Mobile Operators have now started to open up their Multimedia Messaging Service Centres (MMSCs) for third party connections. MX Telecom therefore offers content providers the ability to send MMS messages via its direct connections to these networks. However, using WAP Push to deliver media rich content such as images and audio clips to compatible handsets is still the norm due to high transmission rates, cost-effectiveness and better reliability.

With the escalation in the number of compatible handsets in the marketplace today, the demand for, and use of, MMS applications looks set to continually increase, and so the potential business opportunities for content providers are huge.

Technical Information

On a technical level MMS differs entirely from SMS, and is based not on SS7 but on IP signalling standards and internet content standards such as JPEG and MPEG for images and video.

MMS is sent differently to SMS; When sending a peer to peer SMS, the SMS message is sent from an end user's handset to their mobile operator's SMS Centre (SMSC), and is then sent directly to the recipient end user's handset, irrespective of which network the recipient of the SMS is on. The SMS does not get routed from the SMSC of the sender's mobile operator to the SMSC of the recipient's mobile operator.

This is not the case when sending a peer to peer MMS; Any MMS message must go through the mobile operators' home MMSCs (assuming they are not roaming, whereby the roaming network's MMSC would be used). An MMS from an end user will be sent to that end user's mobile network MMSC, then sent on to the MMSC of the recipient's mobile operator, before being sent on to the recipient end user's handset.

Examples of content types that can be supported for MMS:

Content Type Examples
Text Plain Text
Image GIF, JPEG
Animation Animated GIFS
Video MPEG4, 3GPP, H263
Audio MP3, AMR voice
Polyphonic MIDI - 12 voices and 24 voices
Java Java games

SMIL

Most MMS compatible handsets use SMIL (Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language), an XML-based language that controls the layout of the MMS by piecing together media files in the order that the end user sees, and combines them into a single stream. This is so the display is properly time coordinated and synchronised. However, not all handsets support SMIL (such as older Nokia handsets, e.g. Nokia 6800).

Size of MMS messages

There is no specified maximum size for an MMS (unlike the 160 character limit of an SMS). In practice, most MMS messages will be between 10Kb and 100Kb in size. However, some current handsets have a size limit of 30Kb for any individual MMS.

For more information, please contact us at 0845 666 7778 or via email at sales@uk.openmarket.com.