Etisalat launches MMS

Etisalat has launched multimedia messaging services (MMS) in the UAE, allowing users to swap pictures, drawings, text, animation and audio clips via their mobile phones.

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By  Richard Agnew Published  July 15, 2003

Etisalat has launched multimedia messaging services (MMS) in the UAE, allowing users to swap pictures, drawings, text, animations and audio clips via their mobile phones.

After completing technical and internal trials, the operator will soft-launch the service over the next few weeks to judge consumer demand, before beginning to promote it in earnest in September.

Etisalat is offering unlimited free messages and a 50% discount on registration until September 15th. Thereafter, users will be charged 30Dh to sign up and 90fils per MMS. The maximum capacity per message will be 50Kb.

To support the launch, Etisalat is also planning to set up a multimedia portal to provide third-party content such as greeting cards and games, as well as a multimedia library where, for an additional charge, subscribers can store and access their own images.

Swedish equipment vendor, Ericsson, supplied Etisalat with the library, along with the MMS platform to interface between users and content developers and a Multimedia Client Proxy (MMCP) to tell whether a message is being sent to a non-MMS capable terminal.

The solution then provides the receiver with links so that they can view content via the internet or WAP, allowing Etisalat to promote MMS to owners of less-advanced phones.

“We have successfully completed the trials, everything is working smoothly and we hope it will be well received by the customers,” said Mohammed Al Fahim, executive vice president, marketing, Etisalat.

The move will allow the operator to get an idea of consumer taste for mobile multimedia services, before its planned launch of 3G in the second quarter of 2004.

To help generate more interesting, local content, the operator recently raised the proportion of revenue it shares with developers to 65%.

It also claims that early take-up of the MMS service will be helped as over 200,000 handsets capable of receiving and sending multimedia messages have already been bought by UAE subscribers.

Users can register via SMS or Etisalat's interactive voice response (IVR) service. If they have Nokia or Sony Ericsson phones, they can then configure their handsets via SMS.

Users of other handsets must access configuration instructions from the Etisalat website, helpline or offices.

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