A survey of attendees at the SMS 2002 show in London revealed that users of short messaging services would welcome richer content on phones through Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS), but that cost uncertainties could delay take up.
The results showed that 64 per cent of 109 respondents, from across industry sectors, wanted more audio/visual content with information services and 65 per cent of these are prepared to pay for it.
Over half already receive mobile information services via SMS with about a quarter of these paid for. But the major obstacle to mass take up is cost.
Michael Ohajuru, sales and marketing director at German software vendor Materna, said: "The issue is how much are MMS services going to cost. People are using SMS because it offers a personalised service and is cheap with fixed costs.
"People are happy with SMS and they see the value, but MMS is a completely new planet and the network operators have invested £24bn to make it work with third-generation licences."
Vodafone will introduce its MMS offering from the middle of this year but charging is not yet clear.
"MMS is an integral part of Vodafone's messaging strategy," said Thomas Geitner, chief executive, global products and services at Vodafone. "Our customers will soon be able to send media rich messages to one another, as well as have value added messaging content delivered to their mobile devices."
Ohajuru added: "Business users will be first to make use of MMS because they see a value and it can create a seamless environment from desktop to mobile phone."
He explained that businesses will be able to do all the things they can do now with text, but add pictures.
The options for consumers include downloading discount vouchers, accessing banking services and having faces appear on phone screens.
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