International communications player Cable & Wireless has introduced a new service that will allow Irish mobile users to speed up the transmission of multimedia messages (MMS) globally. It is understood that the company’s local operations are targeting Vodafone, O2 and Meteor to sign up for the service.
Cable & Wireless' Multimedia Message Exchange (MMX) services allows operators such as Vodafone and O2 to carry multimedia messages via a central hub to more than 160 operators worldwide. The cross-network system has been developed following trials with Vodafone and the GSM Association. Operator requirements were paramount in the development of the system including a standard approach to contracts, billing and service performance.
"MMX will allow mobile operators' customers to send picture and multi-media messages to multiple international destinations that they cannot reach today," said Alan Whelan, managing director of Carrier Services at Cable & Wireless.
More than 160 operators worldwide have launched multi-media messaging services, making international MMS interworking an important catalyst to MMS market growth and a top priority among global 2.5G/3G operators. Cable & Wireless is the largest global GPRS roaming exchange (GRX) provider with 43 mobile operators directly connected to the GRX and links through interconnect agreements to more than 160 mobile operators worldwide.
The platform also shields mobile operators from costly testing and engineering changes caused by other mobile operator-partner system upgrades and incompatible configurations.
A local source for Cable & Wireless commented: "Cross-carrier international operability for SMS traffic has been a key enabler in the explosion of text messaging over the past few years. Most Irish people communicate on a daily basis by SMS with friends, family and colleagues outside of Ireland. The Irish population also sends around three text messages per person per day - more than in the UK. The ability to send pictures or MMS postcards across the globe without delay should stimulate the demand for MMS and enable mobile operators in Ireland to avail themselves of a new, value-adding revenue stream."
Ireland has one of the highest mobile penetration rates in Europe, at 89pc, with 3.5 million subscribers. A total of 896 million text messages were sent during the second quarter of 2004, and the Irish mobile market is currently worth €2.2bn, according to the Mobile Marketing Forum.
By John Kennedy