Italian mobile operator Telecom Italia Mobile said Tuesday it has launched
multimedia messaging services via its GPRS network in Italy with immediate
The picture-messaging service will be offered free of charge until 30
September, TIM said. A spokeswoman said the operator will study user behavior
over the next few months to determine how much it should charge for the service.
The spokeswoman said Ericsson and Nokia are the main MMS infrastructure
suppliers for TIM.
TIM's MMS rollout follows recent launches by operators such as Westel in
Hungary, Vodafone D2 in Germany and Telenor in Norway. Westel and Telenor have
both launched commercial service, while Vodafone is offering a free service
until the end of July.
TIM's launch is being seen by some as the first MMS rollout by a major national
Mobile subscribers wanting to use MMS-based services currently have little
choice when it comes to handsets. The Sony Ericsson T68i is currently the only
color MMS-enabled handset on the market.
The Nokia 7650 is set to launch in July, and other manufacturers have announced
plans to bring out MMS handsets later in the year.
Nokia said during CeBIT in March this year that it would bring out the MMS-
compatible 3510 handset in Q2, but this handset is only black and white.
MMS is the next stage in the mobile messaging evolution, adding pictures, sound
and video to text-based messaging services. Although operators are being
reasonably cautious with their rollout plans, it is clear that they hope MMS
will build on the success of SMS, while at the same time utilizing their
expensive GPRS and 3G networks.
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