Feeds

MMS to become the new WAP?

Mobile industry accused of hyping 'texting on steroids'

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

The mobile industry is in danger of swallowing its own hype about the growth potential of Multimedia Messaging Services (MMS), leaving it in danger of repeating the mistakes made with the introduction of WAP.

That's the view of market researchers Wireless World Forum (W2F) which reckons estimates that users will be sending 10 billion messages a month within the next two years are way too high. It reckons that 200 million MMS messages a month in 2004 is closer to the mark.

W2F predicts MMS will be worth $5.8 billion by 2006 across 16 key global markets - or 80 per cent less than the current crop of analyst predictions.

So, if W2F is right, why is the rest of industry getting it so wrong?

SMS was phenomenon that no-one predicted - in some developed markets it contributes as much as 12 per cent of mobile operator revenues. The W2F refers to industry view of MMS as "texting on steroids" so the perception is that rich media content will drive the consumers to migrate from SMS to MMS.

But that rationale is flaky, W2F reckons, because it fails to differentiate from what people might like to do and what they are prepared to pay for.

Previous industry research shows that the consumer, when presented with a choice between rich graphics and plain lettering, will select the former. W2F's research shows that following this line of research will create an unrealistic picture, as consumer's desired behaviour is very different from their actual consumption patterns.

The roll out of MMS will be further hampered by its initial unavailability on the pre-pay market. The youth market (under 22 year olds), send 88 per cent of all text messages, yet initial MMS-enabled handsets and services will be priced outside of their reach.

Developing attractive pricing models for MMS (do you charge the same for a 30KB message as a 50KB message) and credible MMS business models are further issues operators have yet to overcome, according to the market researchers.

W2F believes that MMS will fail to substitute SMS, as the consumer will use the two platforms for very different purposes. The success of SMS has been driven by users perceiving it as a cheaper and easier form of communication to voice. The driver for MMS will be entertainment.

MMS will find success in certain application areas - such as picture messaging, but overall W2F believes that MMS will only substitute "a maximum of 10 per cent of the SMS market".

W2F advises that mobile companies need to gain a better understanding of their customer's needs and lifestyles. Otherwise they will be seduced by the technology, sell only to the early adopters and fail to understand why their revenue and usage projections are not being met, it warns. ®

External Links

MMS 'The big picture by Wireless World Forum - links to executive summary

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Google+ GOING, GOING ... ? Newbie Gmailers no longer forced into mandatory ID slurp
Mountain View distances itself from lame 'network thingy'
ISPs' post-net-neutrality world is built on 'bribes' says Tim Berners-Lee
Father of the worldwide web is extremely peeved over pay-per-packet-type plans
Vodafone to buy 140 Phones 4u stores from stricken retailer
887 jobs 'preserved' in the process, says administrator PwC
Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets
... into submission. Weve squeals, ditches payment plans
Drag queens: Oh, don't be so bitchy, Facebook! Let us use our stage names
Handbags at dawn over free content ad network's ID policy
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.