Eversince I posted the ‘How To Post Pictures to Twitter from Celphone via MMS,’ I get more curious about MMS. Because, sometimes it works, sometimes it does not work. It’s a trial and error, and I cannot seem to point out when it will go wrong and when it will work. I could not understand why phone MMS works with Globe, and then not with Smart or Sun. Why do I need to change the configurations of the phone when I switch network providers? Why it works on my nokia and not on sony ericsson, and etcetera etcetera?
But over time tweaking with MMS with different network providers — Globe, Smart, and Sun — I have a little idea of how it works behind.
Everybody knows what MMS means — multimedia messaging service. Of course, you also know what is SMS – short messaging service. SMS is purely text. While, MMS, as its name suggests, can be a combination of text, picture, video, file, etc. SMS is easier to send because it’s pure text, plus all mobile phones are SMS-capable. With MMS, it contains different file formats — texts, pictures, videos, etc, which makes it trickier.
Following are the tricks and tricks I gathered regarding MMS, which can hopefully explain some mysteries of MMS. These are just how I understand it so feel free to correct me.
When you send an MMS, following are things that will happen.
1. The attached picture will be uploaded to the network’s webserver (think of photobucket, flickr, etc).
2.The network, for example Globe, will checked the celphone of the receiver/recipient if it is MMS capable or not.
a. If the receiver’s phone is NOT MMS capable because she has a Nokia 3110, 2 things will happen:
- The network will only send the text/SMS part of the MMS will be sent/received, with an attached url/link where the recipient can download the picture.
- Or, the recipient will get an error message or an invalid message.
b. If the receiver’s mobile phone is MMS-capable but then its MMS settings are not configured, the network will send a message that you need to configure your phone setting, or an error message, or link/url where to download/view the picture..
3. If the network provider detects that the recipient can receive MMS, the phone is okay, following are things that can happen:
a. The best scenario is, the network will send a message directing the recipient’s mobile phone where it can ‘retrieve’ the MMS or the picture. The receiver’s phone will then turn on its gprs/3g/wap to download the picture from the network’s server. Click here for the source of this information.
For example, Anne, a globe user, sent MMS picture to her textmate Ryan, a globe user too. Globe webserver will hold first the picture, then tell Ryan’s celphone to download Anne’s picture from their webserver. Two things happen here:
- Anne pays for sending the MMS (MMS requires WAP), which is actually uploaded to the Globe’s webserver.
- Ryan, also on the other hand, pays for downloading the picture. To download a picture, it also requires WAP thus, even if you are only the receiver, you still need to pay for it. (This is just my theory. Because, once, someone sent me an MMS, and then I got an error message that my load is insufficient. Or, maybe network requires a certain maintaining balance to receive an MMS.)
b. Different bad scenarios – possible reasons why MMS will not work.
- If the recipient has no load, it means he cannot pay for WAP usage to download the picture. If this is the case, the network provider of the sender will hold the picture, and will either send the recipient a message to inform him he has insufficient funds or a text which contains the url/link where to download the picture, or, worst, the recipient will get an error message.
- Sending MMS from one network to another. I am not sure now but before, MMS sending is only possible if both sender and recipient have the same network – Globe to Globe, Smart to Smart. You can find a story here about this. Globe may block smart numbers from accessing their webserver that holds the picture being sent, and vice versa.
But I read that Smart has signed up with AICENT as their MMS Delivery Network last March this year. AICENT is also Globe’s MMS Delivery Network since 2006 (I’m not sure if they are still Globe’s current delivery network). If both have the same MMS delivery network now, then maybe Smart to Globe MMS and vice versa is possible.
For Sun, their SMS and MMS delivery network is LogicaCMG but this is according to May, 2003 article I dug up here.
- Different networks may have different MMS settings that sending from one network to another can be a problem. For example, Globe user send MMS to Sun user. Globe cannot understand the MMS/GPRS setting of Sun so it cannot instruct properly the Sun user’s phone on how to retrieve the MMS.
There are still a lot of tricks and tricks about MMS.
1. For one, your celphone model may matter. My Sony Ericsson K530i works well with Globe when I configured via texting Go Sony Ericsson K530i to 2951. But then I configured it for Smart by texting Set SEK530i to 211, I got a message that that model is not supported by Smart. When I checked Sun Cellular Phone Configuration Guide page, this Sony Ericsson model is not listed in their site.
Your celphone model may matter as your network provider may not support it.It can really be a pain configuring older models of phone.
2. But do not lose hope because there are different ways to set the configuration of your MMS/GPRS. I guess for MMS to work, the GPRS should also be configured because GPRS will be used to upload/retrieve the picture to and from network’s MMS webserver.
If your network provider will say that your phone model is not supported by their system, you can try to configure it manually. Though, this can be lots of trial and error. But no harm in trying. You can find lots of tutorials on how to manually set up your MMS/GPRS settings
For Smart, try this from their website.
For Sun, try this steps for Nokia phones.
3. Or, you can contact the customer service of your network to assist you in setting the MMS/GPRS of your phone. But, GOODLUCK!
4. You can try getting assistance from your celphone’s manufacturer. For Sony Ericsson users, Sony Ericsson has a very good customer support website. You can go to this page in their website. Click on options for ‘Phone Settings’ once you are in that page.
On the following page, you can select the model of your phone, your network provider, then enter your mobile number. They will then send you a configuration for your phone which you can save.
For now, I feel there is no one-size-fits-all fix for MMS as of the moment. There is no one MMS trouble shoot for all the phones and networks.
These are just my own thoughts based on some facts I discovered, observed, and heard. There are still a lot of things about MMS that confused me. So I will be tweaking and tweaking more on MMS, and will continue to write new things I will learn about it.
If you have any thing to share or your own theories and imagination, please drop them as comments. =)