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What Is a Multimedia Messaging Service?

MMS is a combination of picture, sound, or movie files embedded in a text message.
A multimedia messaging service allows cell phone users to receive messages that contain graphics.
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  • Written By: Rolando Braza
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 09 October 2014
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A multimedia messaging service (MMS) is a means of sending multimedia messages through a wireless network from one mobile communication device to another. The message can include any or a combination of graphic, sound, or video files, along with a text message. The communication device should preferably be capable of transmitting and receiving messages through a third generation (3G) network since multimedia files are usually large. Multimedia messaging service is an enhancement of the short messaging service (SMS) and the enhanced messaging service (EMS).

The store-and-forward technique is usually employed in implementing a multimedia messaging service. The communication protocol typically used is the wireless application protocol (WAP). The WAP is designed to handle secure communication between two wireless devices. A server called an MMS Center (MMSC), on the other hand, is usually set up by a communications carrier to handle MMS traffic.

Creating and sending a multimedia message is generally accomplished in three steps. The first step is to retrieve a multimedia file a sender wants to transmit to a recipient. The sender may then want to do some editing to personalize the graphic, video, or sound file and add some text he or she wishes to convey to the recipient. The mobile number of the recipient is entered and the message is sent.

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The mobile phone receiving the message will usually sound an alert when a multimedia message is received. If the recipient's phone is incapable of displaying MMS content, it is likely that the multimedia message will not appear. The phone, however, will still alert the user that he or she has been sent an MMS message.

A multimedia messaging service is usually used by a person to send a picture message. The images sent in this way may be able to be downloaded on some Internet sites. A message sender who has a phone with a built-in camera can also shoot pictures and store them on the phone. These image could later be retrieved and used in picture messaging.

Some marketing institutions may use multimedia messaging service also. A company engaged in a promotional campaign may be able to send a target consumer a multimedia message endorsing a product or service. It is also feasible to use a multimedia messaging service to answer a customer query. A politician could use the service to send a picture message to introduce himself to certain constituents.

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