Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) is a derivative of Short Messaging Service (SMS), designed to break through the text-only/160 character limitation of SMS-powered text messages.
Unlike SMS messages that stay in text form during their transmission, MMS messages are encoded much like attachments in an email. An SMS notification is sent to the phone which then, in turn, downloads the MMS attachment from the cellular providers’ servers. Contrary to popular belief, the MMS transmission is not broken up and sent via SMS messages and reassembled, but sent over the phone’s data connection–this also explains why it’s possible to receive notice of a new MMS picture but not the actual picture, if you’re roaming outside of the reach of your data network.
- By Jason Fitzpatrick on 03/26/13