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Three-quarters of UK survey participants are "excited" by MMS, providing an indication that MMS will repeat its success in Japan throughout the world.

The findings are contained in a new report that was compiled by HPI Research Group and sponsored by Nokia Networks. The research surveyed various focus groups, but also surveyed 16- to 45-year-old mobile phone users who do not yet have an MMS phone.

The survey, which was carried out in the UK, Japan, the US, Germany, Singapore and Finland, predicted that MMS is set to repeat the success of SMS text messaging.

Respondents expressed great interest in downloadable services like travel information, news, games and screensavers. The study also suggested that these MMS-based services would capture traditional media spend for specific services, such as breaking news, travel, weather reports from television, Internet and other media.

"Consumers really want MMS and are as intrigued by MMS as they were by SMS," said Pekka Pohjakallio, director of mobile Internet solutions at Nokia Networks. "What's really interesting is how MMS looks set to broaden mobile communications use as a whole and support the creation of new kinds of picture content services."

Pohjakallio also said that the depth of demand for MMS services is extremely good news for the industry and creates a consumer pull for more advanced 3G-based services.

The survey claimed that the pattern in the UK reflected the progress of MMS in Japan, where 90 percent of camera phone owners send multi-media messages to other phones and 68 percent send messages to e-mail accounts.

Japanese users do not use their MMS capability instead of their phone's voice functionality, in fact Japanese users have increased their use of mobile phone services since getting their current phone and they expect to receive text or multimedia messages in response to multimedia messages they send.

If the findings of the study are borne out it will be good news for Nokia Networks, which produces the infrastructure equipment necessary to build a mobile phone network. The division has been struggling for some time and for the full-year of 2002 saw its sales decline by 13 percent. Nokia said in January that it expected the overall market to contract by a further 5 percent to 10 percent during 2003. © ENN

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