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Summary:

According to the Twittersphere, AT&T has begun flipping the switch on MMS across the U.S. today. Sources say that AT&T will be sending out text messages, beginning at 10 A.M. EST today, to notify customers when MMS service is available for their use. Customers and industry […]

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According to the Twittersphere, AT&T has begun flipping the switch on MMS across the U.S. today. Sources say that AT&T will be sending out text messages, beginning at 10 A.M. EST today, to notify customers when MMS service is available for their use.

Customers and industry watchers alike are waiting anxiously to see how AT&T’s network will cope with the increased demand MMS will cause. AT&T spokesman Seth Bloom doesn’t expect any problems, however, noting in an email that:

SMS and MMS messages are carried differently than other network traffic.  This is one of the reasons why when there’s a natural disaster or other large scale emergency situation (e.g., earthquake or something like that) that causes a huge and sudden spike in voice calls, wireless carriers suggest that people send text messages. They’re likely to get through when the voice circuits are busy.


Stacey at GigaOM goes into more detail about how MMS and SMS work compared to regular voice calls. She concludes that the true linchpin factor in today’s launch will be the strength of AT&T’s servers. Clearly, the carrier must be fairly confident in their ability to handle the strain, or we’d likely still be waiting for the company to announce a start date.

Some, like Twitter user Connor Stanton, are hoping that AT&T won’t be equal to the task and that its failure to meet the demand will result in a breakdown of the exclusivity deal between the carrier and Apple. Stanton writes, “Come on AT&T. I want to crash your infrastructure when MMS rolls out so Apple will kill iPhone’s exclusivity in US. Kthnxbye.” In theory, if Apple thinks AT&T network woes are having a significant impact on its iPhone sales, we could see it take its business elsewhere.

There’s even a plan circulating on social media networks for AT&T iPhone users to simultaneously send out MMS messages at 5 P.M. EST to attempt to crash the network on purpose. I wonder if AT&T accounted for organized attempts to destabilize its network in preparation for today’s launch.

To activate MMS on your iPhone, plug your device into your computer. Click on it in the source list in iTunes, and then click the “Check for Update” button. You should see a dialog that says, “An update to the carrier settings for your iPhone is available. Would you like to download it now?” Click “Download and Update” and wait for the process to finish. Carrier settings updates are normally very fast. Once it’s finished, the camera icon should appear in your text messaging dialog, and new menu options should open up in your other native apps for sending various types of media.

Once activated, you’ll be able to send photos, video, audio, map locations, and contact information via MMS to other enabled devices. Very handy for making sure the sofa color you’re looking at is OK with your significant other before making a purchase, for example.

  1. It’s live!

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  2. My iPhone updated but still no MMS

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    1. Mine did this to. Had to reset the device.

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  3. Will this new carrier file disable any tethering hack? The 3.1 OS did, and I downgraded back to 3.0.1 and was able to keep tethering. I will download the new carrier file to get MMS (as long as it does not disable tethering) while still holding off on the 3.1 update if possible. Does anyone know details about this?

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    1. Looks like it disables tethering so beware.

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  4. Just updated mine and sent a couple pictures out to test. Curious if the network is taking a pounding right now.

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  5. Just downloaded it but there does not appear to be anyway to share music?????

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    1. I don’t think you’re supposed to be able to send music to people. Maybe voice recordings, though?

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    2. Yes that does work. As in contacts, when you click share there is an option to MMS it.

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  6. We got it immediately in Canada with the OS 3.0 release in the summer, and I have to say that for myself, having it for a few months now has just reinforced how little I actually use it. For me, being able to email photos or post them to Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, etc is perfectly adequate.

    That said, the way MMS is worked into the iPhone Messages app is very smooth, and a far better experience than it was on previous phones I owned. Hopefully, it’s worth the wait for US iPhone users.

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  7. It’s on my phone as of 12:35 Central, but I’ve sent out two messages and so far they have not been received. I also had to reboot my phone to get it to show up.

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  8. Here in Chicago, got the update from iTunes and the functionality is there but still unable to send MMS messages. Did AT&T provide the update but not activate the service?

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  9. Had it in the uk since 3.0 and on all my other phones, never used it. I like the idea to take down AT&T at 5pm

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  10. Is there anyway to do the carrier update without having to jump to 3.1? I am on 3.0 and dont want all the issues I am reading about!

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    1. Nope, requires 3.1.

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