mmO2 is set to launch the most customer friendly and comprehensive multimedia messaging service yet in its four territories (UK, Netherlands, Ireland and Germany) during October.
The service, called O2 media messaging, will be available to both pre- and post-pay customers and offers immediate roaming across mmO2's four networks. O2 media messaging will include a strong portfolio of value-added services accessible via the O2 portal such as applications that enable customers to store and manipulate their photos - to add speech bubbles or change friends into cartoons for example - and create and send media messages online. In addition, customers will be able to upload images to their personal 'photo album' as well as download content from the multimedia library - including pictures and sounds.
Media messaging (or MMS) is the ability to send and receive messages that are 'richer' than today's text messages and can include a mix of personal photographs, pictures, graphics, sound recordings as well as text. Such messages can be created on an MMS-capable mobile phone or the Internet, and sent to other MMS-enabled mobile phones or email account.
mmO2's research has highlighted that O2 media messaging will appeal to a broad audience - and is especially appealing to younger consumers (18-30) who text in volume today.
Similar to current text message services, all pricing for O2 media messaging will be 'event-based' (i.e. customers will pay for each message sent) with price per media message from GBP0.39. Pricing will vary by country dependent on local market conditions - see table below. In the UK, customers may choose to 'bolt on' O2 media messaging to their existing tariff, reducing the price per media message to GBP0.28 (GBP0.43). O2 customers will not pay to receive media messages 1.
From launch, a range of MMS-enabled devices will be available, including the Nokia 3510 (receive only), the Sony Ericsson T68i (with camera attachment) and the Nokia 7650. Other handsets - the Sharp GX1 (exclusive to mmO2 and available in the UK, Ireland and the Netherlands), the Nokia 6610, Nokia 7210, Sony Ericsson T300 and Siemens S55 - will follow shortly.
Kent Thexton, chief marketing and data officer, mmO2, said: "O2 media messaging is a natural evolution of the strong SMS trend, in which we have a leading position in key markets. We believe that O2 media messaging provides a good customer experience from launch. The service and pricing is simple and intuitive, we offer the choice of pre- and post-pay and our 'walk out working' promise ensures that our customers will be able to use O2 media messaging as soon as they receive their handset."
A range of O2 media messaging text alerts, consisting of photographs and sound clips and covering sport, entertainment, gossip, news, travel, finance and weather will be available from a cost of GBP0.15 (GBP0.23). As well as working with major brands to secure content, mmO2 will leverage its online application developer communities - including the 9,000 registered to sourceO2, mmO2's accelerator of mobile services - to create winning media messaging applications of the future.
The launch of O2 media messaging in the territories will be supported by a major advertising campaign with the strapline 'invent your own language' beginning November. Adverts will be appearing in specialist media and targeted locations to reach the younger consumer.
The launch of O2 media messaging marks more progress for mmO2 in the mobile data arena. It leads the market with innovative mobile data devices, including BlackBerry and the xda, and its 3G live test and evaluation site on the Isle of Man continues to provide valuable customer insight. The company recently launched the first commercial Java games service in the UK (the O2 games arcade) and the O2 Premium Services Platform, an inter-connectivity platform that enables companies to reach millions of mobile phones users across its territories via a single point of contact.
O2 media messaging will be available in O2 stores, selected retail outlets and online across all of the mm O2 territories during October.