Don't overhype messaging services, telcos warned

Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) is in danger of becoming another over-hyped technology like Wireless Application Protocol...

Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) is in danger of becoming another over-hyped technology like Wireless Application Protocol (WAP), according to a report from industry research group, Wireless World Forum (W2F).

The W2F warned telecommunications companies to reassess their predictions of how much extra revenue MMS will bring.

After talking to "key executives" among its 3,000 industry members, W2F, based in London, predicted that MMS would be worth £3.8bn across 16 key markets: Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Israel, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, the UK and the US.

That figure is about 80% lower than the predictions quoted by many industry analysts, W2F said. Industry analysis has indicated that 20 billion MMS messages would be sent per month within the next two years. However, W2F believed the real figure would be closer to 200 million.

"We went into this looking for the foundations of the hype, and managed to trace most of it back to statements from the people furthest from the consumer - the infrastructure providers," said Josh Dhaliwal, executive partner of W2F.

"In a saturated market they can't sell any more SMS [short message service] products and so they have to push new services. But they're marketing the features, not the benefits to the consumer," he said.

Handset manufacturers, too, see lengthening renewal times and are keen to tempt operators with new features, Dhaliwal said.

"We're not saying that MMS won't be a success, but it won't replace SMS. It won't be used for communication. It is more about entertainment, " he added.

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