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MMS Overview

About Multimedia Messaging Service

MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) is a rich multimedia messaging technology which allows audio, video, images and thousands of characters of text within a single message.

Content and messages sent via MMS are delivered to and opened within a recipient’s inbox in the same familiar way as SMS. There is no software to download or application to launch, and end users can reply to an MMS with an SMS, and vice-versa.

Because MMS uses the cellular network for delivery, a data connection isn’t needed. A majority of U.S. subscription contracts include MMS in an unlimited messaging plan. These combined characteristics make it a simple and convenient method of sending and receiving rich content.

From a carrier or aggregator perspective, MMS is more complex to support and requires greater bandwidth. Media format types and message size limitations vary by carrier and mobile device capabilities. As a result, it costs more to send an MMS than an SMS, and MMS message delivery may take longer than SMS due to file size and/or network.

There are two important standards that define MMS technology, one published by the 3GPP (3GPP TS 23.140), and the other a series of MMS specifications published by the Open Mobile Alliance (OMA). These two standard bodies cooperate to define the MMS protocols.

There are a few key factors to consider before getting started with MMS:

  • Connection: In order to implement MMS on a code, you must have an MMS-enabled connection on the Aerialink Platform.
  • Fees: Separate from SMS. Contact your Account Director for more information about fees.
  • API: MM4 and/or HTTP specifications
  • Rates: MMS-specific message rates and carrier surcharge fees apply. For 8XX (Toll-Free) MMS, contact your Account Director to add this to your service plan.
  • Sender Types: Standard long code, 8XX numbers, MMS-certified short code.
  • MMS Protocols: HTTP, MM4
  • DLR: Supported through MM4
  • Incoming Keyword Matching: Supported
  • Storage: MMS attachments are kept for forty-five (45) days after which they expire and are removed from our system. Contact iconectiv about options for storing inbound MMS in your own folder for greater control of storage and removal options.
  • Reach: U.S. and Canada
  • Throughput: A single API request can send a single MMS at a rate of 1mms/sec. Higher throughput can be provided for time-sensitive campaigns upon request and advance notice.

General MMS Tips

  • For video, avoid complex or gradated backgrounds
  • For video, avoid background noise
  • Keep videos under 40s in length
  • Keep text copy enticing and brief despite longer character capacity
  • Though carrier size support varies, we recommend keeping file sizes less than 600KB.
  • Resize/adjust your images before sending. We recommend a third-party extension or plug-in for your browser, such as the Resizing App and Flip This for Chrome.
  • For toll-free senders, submit a “Verified Sender” form to ensure improved deliverability.
  • Stay aware of possible surcharge fees.

Short Code MMS Implementation

Aerialink recommends certifying new short code programs for SMS and MMS simultaneously. An amendment to add SMS or MMS at a later date is viewed as a “New” setup by carriers and an additional fee of $1,500 will be charged to file the separate amendment.

Input File Formats

The below shows the supported content types and formats for Standard Long Codes, 8XX (Toll-Free) Numbers and Short Codes.

Content TypeLong Code 8XX (Toll-Free)Short Code
wav, x-wav
midi, sp-midi, mid
aac, aac+
  • Plain Text Charsets Available: UTF-8, US-ASCII
  • PDF Support: Not supported. (However, you can convert PDF to JPEG. If the JPEG is under 600KB, it can be sent.)

Additional Video Specifications

If a video is part of a message, the following guidelines must be met.

File Extension3gp, 3gpp, 3g2, 3gpp2
Max Frames225d
Max Frame Rate15fps
Max Video Duration< 30s@7.5fps
< 15s@15fps
Max Video Bit Rate< 256k

Note that video formats are not supported for outbound messages on toll-free numbers, but some inbound video messages may be supported and accessible depending on the source carrier and handset.

Additional Audio Specifications

  • Audio encoding: AMR-NB, AMR-WB, AAC LC, QCELP - 13k 9for 3g2 files
  • Audio bit rate: QCELP = 14400, AMR-NM = 6400, AMR-WB = 7200, AAC LC = 29500

Carrier MMS File Size Limitations

Standard Long Code

The carriers listed below have established these MMS size limitations for outbound messages.* A full list of carriers who support MMS via 8XX (toll-free) numbers can be found in the first two tabs of our Long Code Reach List. A full list of carriers who support MMS via short code can be found here in our Short Code Reach List.

Code TypeCarrierMax File Size Supported
Long CodeVerizon Wireless1.2 MB
Long CodeAT&T1 MB
Long CodeSprint2 MB
Long CodeT-Mobile3 MB
Long CodeOther Carriers300 KB - 1 MB
Toll-FreeAll Carriers600KB
Short CodeVerizon Wireless1.2 MB
Short CodeAT&T1 MB
Short CodeSprint2 MB
Short CodeT-Mobile3 MB

Keep in mind:

  1. File size limitation includes text.
  2. MMS DLR is available through MM4 connection only.
  3. MMS on 8XX supports the following file formats: .jpeg, .gif, .png
  4. Audio and video are not supported on 8XX at this time.

Note: MMS DLR is available through MM4 connection only.

Subject Characters Limit

The “Subject” referred to in this field is the subject, header, title or topic of the message. Thus, this refers not to the characters limit of the message body, but of the characters limit for the “subject.”

Group Messaging

Aerialink adheres to the industry best-practice of converting group messages to MMS. Here are some things to keep in mind regarding group messaging:

  1. An MM4 connection to our gateway from your external application is required.* You can learn more about the MM4 specification here. Sample scripts are available upon request.
  2. We would include a routing action for your MM4 connection which would enable a 10DLC number with an approved, registered use case** assigned to that connection to send group messages.
  3. Each message sent sent to each recipient is charged an MMS rate. This means that a text sent to four group recipients is technically four messages, and would be charged as such.
  4. A clear and conspicuous opt-out process must be made available to all group participants.
  5. We recommend a maximum of eight participants per group to ensure best deliverability. Note that this may be limited by divice or carrier support.

*Not available on Aerialink Conversations connections.
**Not available for toll-free numbers. 10DLC Campaign Registration is required. Group messaging may fall under the ]”Proxy” Special Use Case and require additional review by carriers. Please contact your Account Director to discuss the details of your use case. Review the CTIA requirements.