Over the weekend, Econet Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) launched on trial to all Econet customers. The trial runs until end of December and for that period, subscribers will be able to send free unlimited MMS messages on the network. After the trial period, a single MMS will cost US 15 cents during peak periods and a cent less off-peak. All MMS messages will have a 1 megabyte limit.
MMS is a service that allows mobile subscribers to send each other pictures, sound and videos files using next to ordinary mobile phones. A subscriber with a supported mobile phone, which is about any mobile phone nowadays, is supposed to be able to send (impulsively) multimedia files they are capturing (or have received) to their friends on the network. Pictures and videos files, especially those that are humorous, tend to spread virally among subscribers when there’s an easy and intuitive (read SMS like) method to propagate them.
MMS has become a standard on most networks globally in the past couple of years and like its cousin SMS, has been used by operators to get more dollar for data from subscribers. The service hasn’t exactly been smooth sailing for mobile operators though with speed issues being a common problem.
And still, speed is not the problem to worry about in terms of adoption of the service. There’s also the issue that MMS has largely been leapfrogged by other technologies that are purely internet based and that conveniently bypass the mobile operator thereby being a lot cheaper. Econet Broadband Chief Commercial Officer, Leon de Fleuriot, pointed to this reality when we spoke to him last week.
There are many services out there that do multimedia messaging; from simple instant messaging applications, game changing convenient services like WhatsApp to social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter that do what MMS proposes and more at a lower cost to subscribers.
But nothing is predictable. Who knows the kind of mobile phones the bulk of Zimbabweans have and what their most nagging problems are with sharing multimedia files. Econet also has the opportunity to add on convenient services on top of the basic MMS to attract usage.
Are you going to give Econet’s MMS a try?