Texting has become an integral part of our lives. Most of us are constantly messaging someone or the other. It is the easiest way of communicating with someone, especially informally. While SMS allows us to text someone, MMS goes a step further allowing us to exchange multimedia like images and videos as well. While some of us are familiar with both forms of messaging services, there are others who are not as conversant with the technology and tend to confuse the two. In this article, we tell you what makes these messaging services so different from each other.
What is SMS?
One of the first services offered by mobile service companies apart from the ability to make calls, SMS or short messaging service allows you to send out short text messages to other mobile phone users. The concept first took shape sometime in the 1980s. The first SMS message ever was sent out on the 3rd of December, 1992 from Neil Papworth to Richard Jarvis, both of whom were in the United Kingdom, using the GSM network of Vodafone. The text sent out was Happy Christmas and the handset that was used was an Orbitel 901. SMS is the most widely used data application method with almost 74% of all mobile phone users using this method of exchanging text messages. Initially, SMS was supported only by GSM networks as it was defined as a part of the Global System for Mobile Communications, but soon other technologies like CDMA and Digital AMPS also started providing short messaging services.
What is MMS?
MMS is the abbreviation of multimedia messaging service, which is a technologically advanced form of SMS. With this service one can send not only text and images but videos as well. Very much like SMS, it is essential that both your mobile phone and your service provider supports MMS functions. While SMS has become as integral a part of mobile phones as call ability, it is not a standard function provided with all phones. MMS is an extremely popular method of sending photos from mobile phones that are geared with a camera. It is also extremely popular as an entertainment surfing application. The technology faced a lot of problems initially due to technological glitches like wrong formats being sent out and received, wrong billing, etc, which led to very limited use of the function. It was in China that it became a huge success due to the spread of phones that were capable of sending and receiving SMS and MMS.
|Features||Short Message Service||Multimedia Messaging Service|
|Process of Transmission||Text messages are sent and received via message centers.||Messages are sent to message centers which forward them to recipients using Internet.|
|Character Limit||160 characters||Unlimited|
|Advantages||Easy to use service and cheaper in comparison.||Allows one to send text messages, images, and videos.|
|Disadvantages||Spamming has become common||Ability to receive MMS depends on handset capability and service provider support.|
SMS has been till date a much preferred communication mode for most users of mobile phones as it can be used to send out important messages quickly. It is more of an entertainment medium than a method of communication. The widespread use of SMS and MMS for communication has resulted in the evolution of a shorthand kind of written language. This lingo, purists believe, has ruined the English language. For example , in SMS language, laughing out loudly becomes LOL. They also have a facility for use of emoticons to express emotions and feelings. MMS emoticons have integrated movements and music, etc. At the end of the day, both are just messaging services that allow us to communicate with different mediums. This article has hopefully explained to you clearly what the major differences between both of these messaging services are. With mobile phone proliferation having achieved mammoth targets, it is no wonder that both SMS and MMS have become popular means of communication.