Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS)

Author: Anagha Ravi

What is MMS?

MMS stands for Multimedia Messaging Service, and is the media version of a Short Messaging Service (SMS) text. 

Any time you text a gif, image, video, phone contact, or audio clip over a traditional cellular network, you’re using MMS messaging. Unlike SMS, which has a 160-character limit, MMS messages can be up to 1,600 characters in length. 

The benefits of MMS messages

Higher ROI and engagement

78% of retail and ecommerce respondents report that MMS messages result in more purchases, with 23% stating that there is “much more purchasing.” With MMS, shoppers see the neon running shoes with their own eyes. They feel the cadence of a runner demonstrating the shoes in a video. Suddenly, the customer has motivation to click through the link and buy their next trainers. 

Content flexibility

MMS messages can send up to 10x more text than an SMS message. But aside from a limit of 1,600 characters vs. SMS’s 160, businesses and users alike can use MMS messaging to send different types of media.

The downsides of MMS messages


Not everyone has MMS messaging enabled on their phones. While the majority of users have smartphones, users without smartphones, or data plans that don’t include MMS, might not be able to view media. If you’re a business, consider if your target audience has smartphones or data plans to receive MMS messages.

Higher per-message costs than SMS

MMS is typically double or triple the price of SMS. But, in the scheme of things, it’s still pretty cheap and the ROI is often worth it. Sending one MMS costs more than sending one SMS text. However, one long MMS message can cost less than sending 6 SMS messages, because you can fit everything you want into one single message. 

MMS use cases for business messaging

There are many use cases for MMS messages across industries. Here are a few possibilities: 

  • Sale alerts. Advertise your biggest sales with a series of SMS or MMS messages on toll-free, short codes, or local numbers.
  • Special promotions. Running an end-of-season sale on snow shovels? Sounds like it’s time to send an SMS to clear out your inventory!
  • New arrivals. Keep your customers in the loop on new stuff by sending MMS photos and videos to showcase your latest arrivals.
  • Product features. Got feature-rich gizmos? Help consumers understand the features and benefits with quick, frequent bursts of product education.
  • Featured reviews. Show off your five-star reviews and build a body of social proof by including customer quotes in your SMS messages.
  • Social proof. Spot a celebrity ambassador sporting your sneakers? Make sure all of your shoppers know they’re officially in the cool club with an MMS photo. 
  • Product demos. Infomercials are still running for a reason: blenders are just more interesting when you see what they can do to frozen pineapple. Film mini demos and share them via MMS.
  • Requesting reviews. Brands can get more positive exposure on sites like Google and Yelp when they use an SMS-driven review request process.

Where are MMS messages stored?

Whenever you send an MMS message, a user’s telecom carrier stores the media in their Multimedia Messaging Service Centers (MMSC). MMSCs will forward messages to the correct MMSC, regardless of the carrier used. 

MMS vs. SMS vs. RCS

MMS vs. RCS 

Rich Communications Services (RCS) is a next-generation SMS protocol that combines the capabilities of SMS and MMS into one solution. Like MMS, RCS enables rich features like read receipts, images, videos, and gifs without media compression. However, RCS isn’t as widely adopted as MMS. 


SMS is limited to sending plain text messages and a 160-character limit. On the other hand, MMS can send videos, audio, images, and other media formats, like hyperlinks, to any device that can receive them. 

Learn more about MMS messaging

With Bandwidth MMS, your users can share and receive media in real-time and you have endless possibilities for integration, automation, and more with your own software or application.

Bandwidth is committed to offering a wide variety of services to enhance our customers’ experience. That’s why Bandwidth’s Programmable Messaging APIs goes beyond solely offering enabling powerful SMS to an application. The added bonus of being able to integrate MMS, toll-free and group messaging capabilities ensures that your end users are getting a quality messaging experience no matter how they choose to communicate.

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