MMS Interoperability Coming to US
By Eric Lin, Fri May 07 00:15:00 GMT 2004

A technical agreement between US CDMA and GSM groups has finally started the ball rolling for MMS interoperability, but not until later this year at the earliest.

Trade groups representing the US' main technology rivals, GSM and CDMA, have just released guidelines to enable operators to exchange picture and video messages with each other's networks. Although the guidelines were released today, agreements won't be in place until later this year, with the actual interop to follow.

AT&T said they hope to reach agreements with other national carriers by this summer. Verizon was vague suggesting progress could be made in a few months, while Sprint was less encouraging, hoping to have something in place by the end of the year.

Currently, there isn't even MMS interoperability between GSM carriers here in the States, and this development should also jumpstart message exchange agreements between GSM carriers, since those shouldn't require any technological developments.

A recent survey showed interest for picture messaging waning in the US. The popularity of SMS increased dramatically in the States after national interop agreements were in place. Carriers are no doubt hoping that MMS agreements will raise subscriber interest, and more importantly usage, since most charge a premium price for picture messages.