The high price of sending MMS messages is the main reason for continued disappointing MMS traffic volumes, according to the December 2005 edition of Informa Telecoms & Media's World Cellular Data Metrics, which is based on data recorded for 234 operators worldwide.
World Cellular Data Metrics is a database supplying messaging and mobile data usage indicators, including detailed commentary and key summaries, that enables subscribers to benchmark their performance against 160 global networks.
The December 2005 edition found that the average price of a 30KB MMS in December was $0.37. That was 4.07 times the cost of a standard SMS, down from 4.19 times the cost in December 2004, but still too high, according to Informa.
"Pricing is fundamental to the success of MMS says Informa Senior Research Analyst, Kester Mann. Subscribers are still unwilling to pay the comparatively higher tariffs for MMS, and until the price ratio with SMS narrows, traffic volumes will remain low. Interoperability, ease of use, handset penetration and service development are other important factors, but pricing will remain key in the long term."
According to Informa, Global MMS traffic more than quadrupled in the year to September 2005, but it points out that the initial base was small, and that over 280 operators have now deployed the service. Only three operators recorded MMS traffic volumes above 100 million messages in Q3 2005: Verizon Wireless and Sprint Nextel in the United States, and Telcel in Mexico.
To see a graph detailing average MMS/SMS price ratio from Dec 04 - Dec 05 click here.