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The GSM Association yesterday issued a rallying call to the wireless industry to speed the arrival of enhanced, fully-interoperable Multi-media Messaging Services (MMS) services and devices.

The influential trade association wants to drive the acceleration of MMS roaming, national MMS network
interworking, and terminal interoperability by promoting the adoption of new standards.

One objective of the GSMA's Board is that 3G Partnership Project's Release 4 specifications concerning network functionality are implemented by December 2003, and that all new MMS terminals are based on the Open Mobile Alliance (OMA) standards.

GSMA CEO Rob Conway. said "Now our Board wants the industry to connect by driving through their implementation and adoption so that more customers can enjoy the benefits of interoperable MMS services across networks, handsets and international boundaries."

Interoperability is seen as key to the growth of MMS an application which is central in many mobile operators' plans to drive up ARPU (average revenues per user).

Analysts such as In-Stat and Analysys warn that the increase in meesaging revenues will be less than service providers forecast, unless operators work harder at making data service easy and appealing to users. Key to this is cross network transmission in Europe which is still patchy in Europe, and almost non-existent in the US.

As we reportedthis week on the launch of US carrier Verizon's MMS service (compatible with global standards but users can't send messages to punters on rival networks) true interoperability remains elusive. ®

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