O2 to launch MMS in October


Network operator mmO2 has announced that it will launch multimedia messaging services (MMS) in its four European markets later this month. Dubbed O2 Media Messaging, the service will enable users to exchange personal messages and subscribe for multimedia information alerts.

O2 will also provide a range of web-based tools through its portal for generating and storing content, including photo manipulation tools and media libraries. The services will be available to users of the Nokia 7650, SonyEricsson T68i and Nokia 3510. Additional handsets, including Sharp’s GX1 and the Siemens S55 will be released over the next few months.

Media Messenging will be available to both pre- and post-pay customers. O2 plans to focus on ease-of-use, ensuring every customer who walks out of a shop with an MMS-capable handset is aware of how to use the feature.

O2 information alerts will include sport, entertainment, gossip, news, travel, finance and weather. Additional services will be available from members of O2’s third party development programme, Source O2. Prices for these services will start at EUR 0.23.

Pricing will vary from market to market. In Germany, users will pay EUR 0.39 for a message up to 30 Kb and EUR 0.99 for up to 100 Kb. British users will pay GBP 0.40 per message, but can purchase ‘bolt on’ packages starting at 10 messages per month for GBP 3.00. O2 will support MMS roaming across its European networks, but it is unclear whether users will pay their home rate when sending a message in another country.

Insight

O2 has demonstrated its ability to put together polished consumer mobile data services, first with its Genie portal and latterly with its Java games arcade. The O2 Media Messaging service also looks promising from a technological standpoint, with a good range of supporting web-based tools and media libraries.

However, O2 is also continuing to demonstrate its total lack of understanding consumer pricing models. PMN talked about this in the 29/08/2002 article ‘mmO2 launches Java gaming‘. It has missed a golden opportunity for a marketing victory by being the first major European operator to harmonise prices and offer roaming across its markets.

Why should UK consumers pay EUR 0.64 per message when the Dutch are paying EUR 0.45? As for the insane ‘metered’ pricing in Germany, PMN’s position on this model is well known – it just won’t work!

Perhaps O2 is planning to experiment with different models in its various markets and see which works best? This information should have been gathered through a closed trial many months ago. O2 should move quickly to harmonise rates across Europe, establish a single ‘per message’ model and offer several value bundles of ‘message buckets’ (i.e. twenty messages for GBP 5.00 per month etc…)


Originally published by PMN Mobile Industry Intelligence, the subscription-based analysis and insight platform founded by Marek Pawlowski.
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