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MMS – Multimedia Message Service

Multimedia messaging service, or MMS, is a widely used standard way to send media files over SMS over a cellular network.

Although today’s world also relies on newer chat apps to send media, MMS still remains a widely-used communication channel.

MMS works in a similar way to SMS but extends core capabilities. Unlike text-only SMS, MMS deliveries a variety of media including video, images, slideshows, and audio. It supports a higher text character limit. Today’s most common use of MMS in business is for sending things like coupons, product images and videos, and other information.

MMS delivery is different from SMS. A sent MMS message first goes through encoding so that recipient devices can read the incoming media. The message is then forwarded to the carrier’s multimedia messaging service center (MMSC). If the recipient is not on the same carrier, the MMSC will forward the message to the recipient MMSC over the internet.

Recipient devices must support MMS in order to receive and open MMS messages. If their device supports MMS standards, content is extracted and sent to a temporary storage server. An SMS control message containing a URL to the content is then sent to the recipient’s handset to trigger the receiver’s WAP browser to open and receive the content from the embedded URL.

Several other messages are exchanged to indicate the status of the delivery attempt. Before delivering content, some MMSCs also include a conversion service that will attempt to modify the multimedia content into a format suitable for the receiver.

For any devices that do not support MMS, recipients will need to view content in a normal internet browser using the file URL, that they will receive as a text message.