Photo messaging celebrates 10 years

Media Release, 02 August 2013

Aussies send 1.5 million MMS messages on Fridays

This month Telstra is celebrating a decade of Australians taking ‘selfies’ with the tenth anniversary of the Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS), otherwise known as picture and video messaging.

Since MMS became widely available in Australia in August 2003, developments in smartphone technology have seen people embracing picture and video messaging with the service growing at an exponential rate.

In 2003, approximately 11,000 MMS were sent over the Telstra network each day. By the time social media and smartphones had hit the market in 2007, this figure had reached 93,000.

Today, Telstra handles more than 1 million pictures and videos on an average weekday and around 1.5 million on Fridays, the busiest day of the week.

The resolution of photos taken in the early days of the service was 0.1 Megapixels; the pictures and videos sent could not exceed 20KB in size; and, each message would take a number of minutes to send on the 2G GPRS network.

Today, camera phones such as the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and Sony Xperia Z have 13 Megapixel cameras and can send MMS messages up to 2MB in size almost instantaneously on Telstra’s 4G LTE network.

Telstra’s Director of Consumer Mobile, Scott McGibbony, said photo and video messages have helped Aussies share their biggest announcements, proudest achievement and everyday activities.

“Since social media and smartphones arrived on the market almost seven years ago, Telstra has handled more than 1.1 billion MMS messages.”

“Every day, families send holiday pictures, shoppers send photos to friends of outfits they might buy and parents flood mobile inboxes with pictures of newborn babies.”

Pam Hawkes, part-owner of racehorse Black Caviar used MMS to send photos celebrating Black Caviar’s wins to family overseas.

“My daughter Clare lives in Ireland with her husband and our new granddaughter. When Black Caviar was racing, we sent them photos so they could be part of the day with us, and we loved getting photos back,” Pam said.

“You don’t realise how useful camera phones are in capturing the special moments in our lives until an event like this.”

As a nation of sports fanatics, Australians also use MMS to share some of the country’s biggest sporting moments.

“Hundreds of thousands of picture messages are sent during the AFL/NRL Grand Finals,” Scott said.

“126,000 extra MMS messages were sent over the Telstra network on the day of the State of Origin 3 a few weeks ago, compared to the previous Wednesday.”

Annual calendar days that cause spikes in MMS traffic on the Telstra network:

  • Christmas Day: nearly 3 million MMS messages sent on Christmas Day 2012
  • New Year’s Eve: over 2.5 million MMS messages sent on NYE 2012
  • Valentine’s Day: around 1.4 million MMS messages sent on Valentine’s Day 2013
  • Mothers’ Day: around 1.4 million MMS messages sent on Mother’s Day 2013
  • Spring Racing Carnival: 2012 Melbourne Cup saw just over 1 million MMS sent (compared with 930,000 the day before)