What is the Difference Between SMS and MMS?

If you’ve ever sent or received a text via a mobile phone, then you may be familiar with the concept of text messaging. Most people use text messaging to converse with friends and family. In marketing, businesses use this communication channel to interact with clients. SMS and MMS both operate under the umbrella of text messaging. 

SMS Versus MMS: What’s the Difference? 

In this article, we will go over the difference between SMS and MMS. Let’s begin with SMS. 

What is SMS?

SMS is the oldest and most frequently used form of text messaging. SMS stands for Short Message Service, and it supports the use of letters and numbers only. With SMS, you can only send up to 160 alphanumeric characters. 

The concept of SMS was developed in 1984 by Bernard Ghillebaert and Friedhelm Hillebrand. The first SMS message was sent eight years later, in 1992. SMS is available on every mobile device, whether smartphones or basic cell phones. 

Advantages of SMS 

  • The Messages are short

Creating an SMS message is really quick because of the 160 character limit. 

  • SMS is Cheap 

SMS is one of the most cost-effective channels for communicating with a loved one. If you run a business, for example, a private clinic, you will find SMS a more convenient method to reach out to patients. You can even use specialized service providers to send bulk messages and automate replies to your patients. Check out these two SMS services and more on the Appointible website

Disadvantages of SMS

  • Not ideal for Instruction texts

SMS is not ideal for long or instruction texts like recipes. Once a text reaches the 160 character limit, it is broken down and sent as several messages. Such texts may confuse the reader. 

What is MMS?

MMS is an abbreviation for Multimedia Messaging Service. This form of mobile messaging began in 2002, and it allows the sender to attach rich media files like images and audio to a text. The main difference between MMS and SMS is that in MMS, you can embed multimedia files. The types of media that you can use are:

MMS has a limit of 1600 characters and a 300 to 500kB file size, depending on the carrier. Some carriers can automatically convert an SMS text into an MMS once the message exceeds 160 characters. 

Advantage of MMS

  • Ideal for Instruction Texts

You can use MMS to send long messages since the limit is 1600 characters.

  • Messages are More Engaging

MMS messages are more eye-catching because they contain rich media files like pictures, videos, and emoji. 

Disadvantages of MMS

  • Cost More Than SMS

MMS messages require more data to send, and thus they cost more than SMS.

  • Not Supported by All Mobile Phones

MMS is not available on all cell phones. It is mainly available on smartphones. People with basic mobile phones may not be able to send or receive MMS messages. 

Any Similarities Between MMS and SMS?

The main similarity between SMS and MMS is that they both occur over a cellular network. Sending and receiving messages requires both the sender and receiver to have a mobile device and be connected to a cellular network. 

Final Thoughts

MMS is like a deluxe version of SMS. It allows you to attach rich media files like videos and pictures to a text. With SMS, you can only use letters and characters to create a message. SMS has a 160 character limit while MMS has a 1600 character limit. SMS is supported in all mobile devices, while MMS is enabled mainly in smartphones. These two forms, however, share a similarity in that they both require a cellular network.


TBN Editor

Time Business News Editor Team