Multimedia messaging service

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The Multimedia Messaging Service ( MMS ) is to be seen as a further development of SMS ( Short Message Service ) and EMS ( Enhanced Message Service ) and offers the possibility to send multimedia messages to other mobile devices or to normal e-mail addresses with a mobile phone . In Germany, Vodafone was the first to start rolling out in April 2002 . As an MMS postcard , a printed end product could also be sent by post from 2003 to around 2010. MMS is standardized by 3GPP and OMA .


While only short (usually 160 characters), unformatted text messages could be written with the Short Message Service (SMS), EMS already allowed the generation of longer messages, including formatting (bold, slanted, etc.) and smaller images ( emoticons) ) contained.

With MMS it is now possible to send almost any message with multimedia content. A multimedia message (MM) can consist of any number of attachments of any type. This makes it possible to send simple texts with up to 30,000 characters, complex documents, images and even short video sequences to one or more recipients. There is no fundamental size restriction, but terminals can only process MMS with a maximum size that is terminal-dependent. For this reason, the network operators try to adapt the content of the MM to be received in the MMSC (Multimedia Messaging Center) to the receiving terminal. This functionality is called transcoding and works e.g. B. on reducing the size of images. All German network operators have currently implemented a maximum message size of 300  kByte . Some providers have implemented additional restrictions, regardless of the network operator used, such as: B. a maximum of 78 characters for the subject and a maximum of 1500 characters in the message field at GMX .

The description language SMIL is used to describe how the multimedia elements are displayed to the recipient . SMIL, an XML format, defines the sequence of the slideshow, i.e. in which order, arrangement and for how long the individual elements are displayed to the recipient.

MMS is not compatible with SMS or EMS, end devices must explicitly support MMS. Conversely, from the user's point of view, an MMS-capable device appears to be downwardly compatible with SMS, but in fact this only affects the user interface, but the underlying technology implements different data formats that are incompatible in both directions.

Technically builds MMS in many places on existing standards: The transfer of data via GPRS , for communication with the terminal is WAP used, the specification includes interfaces for communication with e-mail - gateways and other MMSC based on SMTP based. To communicate with so-called VAS (Value Added Services) is SOAP used. The coding of the message body is based on MIME . Compared to SMS , MMS is much more e-mail based.

Cell phone configuration

The mobile devices must be set accordingly for the MMS. As a rule, devices that are sold directly by the mobile network operator are delivered preconfigured accordingly.

The following must be set, depending on the mobile operator:

  • GPRS data service (APN)
  • WAP gateway (IP address)
  • MMS server (URL)

With some network operators (e.g. E-Plus ), MMS reception only worked if the user had previously sent an MMS himself.


Several protocols have been defined in connection with the MMS standard:

  • EAIF - Nokia's "External Application Interface"
  • MM1, MM2, MM3, MM4, MM5, MM6, MM7 , MM8

Individual evidence

  1. MMS , a bearer of hope , accessed on November 4, 2019
  2. Tried: Multimedia messaging service , accessed on November 4, 2019
  3. Camera phones: Colorful mobile picture , accessed on June 15, 2015
  4. GMX help page for SMS / MMS , accessed on December 24th

Web links

Wiktionary: Multimedia Messaging Service  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations