System integrator LogicaCMG is to bring Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) to fixed lines. ASPs and content providers will be able to use the service to deliver rich multimedia content to the home.
The first fixed line MMS service will be introduced later this year by ITENOS, a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom. Subscribers need special cordless digital handsets to receive images and sounds, but both Siemens and Alcatel have already developed compatible DECT phones, according to LogicaCMG. ITENOS, headquartered in Bonn, hasn't announced prices yet.
Why Germany?, I hear you ask. Most likely because LogicaCMG and Deutsche Telekom are both members of the Fixed Line MMS Forum (based in Berne, Switzerland), along with Philips, Siemens Mobile and Telecom Italia. Its steering committee is predominantly German - it is chaired by Erich Schmidt of Siemens Mobile and Peter Moritz of Deutsche Telekom AG.
Another reason is that tens of thousands of MMS are already being sent in Germany each day, and a significant proportion of that are sent from the home. ITENOS is therefore confident that F-MMS (you have to excuse El Reg for another preposterous acronym) will be a key driver of network spending and handset replacement.
Whether we really need it is another matter. SMS or plain text messaging has been available for fixed lines for some time, in Italy from December 2000, but hasn't really taken off yet. In general, consumer demand for MMS services remains disappointingly slow.
And then there is the discomforting news, at least for service providers, that at least 7.5 million Americans "cut the cord" and have gone solo with their cells, a trend we will see in Europe as well. Land lines may be obsolete before you know it. And so will MMS DECT phones. ®