Acision Calls on Operators to Get the MMS Message

Acision is calling on mobile operators to do more to encourage visitors to this summer’s FIFA World Cup in S. Africa to make more of their phone’s multimedia messaging (MMS) capabilities.

“MMS remains an under-utilised messaging channel, despite its enriched experience for the consumer,” says Acision product marketing manager, Derek McElhinney. “For millions, the FIFA World Cup creates the perfect opportunity for capturing unique pictures and video moments and sharing these with friends and family through multimedia messaging. Messages with images and videos can also be uploaded to online community sites such as Facebook for sharing with larger audiences. Operators can really utilise these worldwide events to trigger usage and boost messaging interaction.”

The problem, of course, is that whenever we go abroad, unless we have a generous employer picking up the bill, we are all terrified of invoking any data service for fear of what it’s going to cost us. Today’s Daily Telegraph carries a story with a warning from Consumer Focus, the body that campaigns for a fair deal for consumers, that a soccer fan uploading 10 photos to Facebook via the mobile web while roaming in S. Africa could run up a bill of £80 in data charges alone.

But McElhinney notes that by uploading photos via MMS, the size of the images is reduced to a maximum of around 300kb typically, cutting these costs by around a third. Any by being selective about the photos they choose to upload, fans can avoid a big bill. He advises soccer fans arriving in the country to check the welcome message they receive when they switch on their phone on leaving the plane, which has details of the costs of voice, SMS, MMS and data services.

He adds, however, that operators could be doing more to reassure people that it’s OK to use MMS while abroad, before they leave the country. He says: “Operators have not taken hold of this event to maximise the usage of MMS.” And while he accepts that operators have to deal with their S. African partner when offering any special tariffs for the duration of the World Cup, he says more could have been done here too.

“It would be better for the operators to get the traffic, rather than everyone going on to wi-fi to use the web. People would have more confidence that they would not come back to a huge bill and would be more inclined to use the services if they were offered at a discounted tariff.”

(Ed’s note: we asked the major UK operators if they had any plans for special data tariffs for the World Cup a couple of months ago when we were preparing an article for our print edition – we got one reply, from Vodafone, saying not at this stage.)