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SMS vs MMS

     
5:27 pm on Aug 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Hope I've put this in the right place.

I have a client who wants a website that sends messages to mobile phones. I've never done SMS integration before, but having done some research into SMS gateways, I have no issue with developing it.

The problem is that my client wants to send text-only messages, but is quite taken with the idea of sending them via MMS as he sees it as some sort of "SMSv2". I have no idea of differences beyond one allowing multimedia to be sent and the other being text-only.

Is it possible to send text-only messages as MMS through a gateway? Are there any benefits to doing so? Any cons, extra costs?
Thanks :)

6:56 pm on Aug 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member g1smd is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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MMS allows for 100kb? data to be sent per message.

SMS has a limit of 160 characters, or 460? for 'long text'.

I am unsure of the exact numbers; if you need them pull the official specs.

8:50 pm on Aug 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

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MMS is a completely different protocol as far as sending the message.

SMS will be accepted on 99.9% of phones... MMS about 75% or less of phones will accept MMS.

iPhones previous to the 3GS do not accept MMS

most blackberries on Verizon and some other carriers have MMS disabled by the carrier... they justify this by pointing out the blackberry can receive email so it doesn't need to receive MMS.

In Canada Telus and Bell blackberry customers don't get MMS... Rogers and Fido customers do get MMS with the same devices.

Decide on the demographic of the people using the service, then decide how likely they have an iPhone or BB.. those are people who won't get your MMS.

SMS is also way cheaper compared to MMS which have data transfer charges associated.

MMS is much more taxing on your service and you should see what your benchamrk would be for how many messages you can send in an hour.

If you do this yourself with a quad band GSM modem or a phone tethered to your server you will be limited to about 500 SMS/hour and about 200 MMS/hour. If you use a gateway they can tell you the limits but they will be much higher.

[edited by: Demaestro at 8:58 pm (utc) on Aug. 17, 2009]

8:56 pm on Aug 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I should also mention that most phone plans allow you to receive an SMS message for free.... however not all plans allow for free MMS messages.

It could be that your user could be charged data transfer changes to receive the file in an MMS.

Something else to mull over.

12:52 pm on Sept 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

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SMS will work, MMS will work most of the time. There are a number of factors to take into account.

Older phones wont have a lot of support for mms messages, some new phones will not have mms enabled by default. Most phones won't configure to receive MMS until they send an MMS.

The recipient will need to have GPRS, 3G or Hsdpa enabled and active in order to receive.

From your point of view it may also work out more expensive to send MMS as oposed to SMS.

Mack.

1:03 pm on Sept 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Forgot to reply sooner... thanks for all your advice guys. The differences are definitely clearer to me now. :)