US carrier Verizon has launched a picture messaging service that's compatible with the global MMS standard. But you can't send picture messages to friends on rival networks - at least, not yet.
Verizon is a CDMA carrier, but has opted to go with the MMS standard that's used worldwide by GSM networks. The bundles announced today are attractive compared to rivals' premium pricing. A $2.99 package, for example bundles 20 messages and each additional picture message is 25c.
But true interoperability remains elusive. GSM networks have had enough teething problems getting cross-carrier MMS up and running: services were launched last summer and interoperability issues were only resolved this spring. The slow but steady growth of picture messaging in Europe promises to be a money spinner for cash-strapped carriers.
However, a spokesman for Verizon characterized the issues as political, rather than technical. "None of our competitors seem interested," he told us. Plus ça change... ®