People Can, But Aren't, Using MMS
By Carlo Longino, Thu Dec 23 16:45:00 GMT 2004

A UK trade body is touting a rapid increase in the number of MMS-capable devices in the country, making the lack of uptake of the service even more glaring. But things don't have to be this way.

The Mobile Data Association says that half the mobile users in the UK have GPRS-capable handsets, and nearly a third of them can use MMS. But the MDA says there's hope for the woeful adoption rate of multimedia messaging: all these people with MMS-capable phones are really excited about being able to send animated Christmas cards. And the momentum of all these e-cards will evidently carry on into 2005, with "increased use of MMS moods and emotion cards."

Christmas cards? That's the best they can do? MMS is a bit of a joke at the moment, but it doesn't have to be only if operators are prepared to make some major changes.

First, operators must cut prices. Whatever they're charging, it's too much, as clearly users don't see what they get out of MMS as worth anywhere near the price.

Second, make the handsets work. Period. Users have no interest in fiddling with GPRS access points and MMS server addresses. The devices must work out of the box, right away, and operators must have OTA configuration systems that adequately work.

Third, find some more compelling applications. Throw some money at some young, creative developers to come up with some ideas and create some services that are a little more interesting than the tired "take a picture and MMS it to us, and we'll send it out to somebody as a postcard" idea that's still making the rounds. Find some smart, creative kids that have used MMS, and know why it's boring and no good, then get them to come up with better ideas. Get content providers going on developing unique, interesting and importantly, interactive, content services to get users both receiving and sending MMS and set up the revenue share so it's worth their while.

Things don't have to be this bad. Clearly, if the Virgin Mary can figure out how to use MMS, there's hope for all of us.