MMS to remain niche service in Europe

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MMS to remain niche service in Europe

Market research company Datamonitor said European consumers have been slow to embrace Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) offerings and revenue from this service will grow slowly.

The European MMS market is expected to be worth $4.9bn (£3bn) in 2006, far less than the $9.1bn (£5.6bn) that was generated in 2002 by the simple text messaging service, SMS, Datamonitor said.

While MMS will help offset declining SMS revenue, expected to fall by $1.4bn (£856m) across Europe by 2006, the multimedia service will not help mobile phone operators achieve their targeted mobile data revenues of between 20% and 30% by 2005.

"In most countries, you still can't send a MMS between different carriers and if you use two different handsets to send a message even over the same network, you'll notice a dip in quality," Datamonitor said. "Interoperability, particularly between different carriers, will be a big boost for MMS."

Numerous operators, including Orange and T-Mobile International, have begun to sign MMS interoperability agreements.

The MMS market needs a greater choice of phones and handsets with longer-life batteries.

Many operators view multimedia messaging as a way to prime customers for 3G mobile broadband services, to be rolled out beginning this year.

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