AT&T customers can finally get their multimedia messaging on come the end of September, according to a company spokesman speaking to TUAW’s Mel Martin today. The official go-live date is Sept. 25, which falls only a tad short of the company’s original late summer prediction for the service.
Spokesman Brad Mays ascribes the lateness of MMS’ arrival to the unmatched size of AT&T’s iPhone user base. The U.S. provider does have far more subscribers than any other carrier globally, and its network has shown signs of strain already. No doubt significant infrastructure build or reconfiguration was required to enable MMS support.
MMS will be enabled via a carrier settings software update on Sept. 25, which users will be able to download by connecting their iPhone to iTunes and approving the update when prompted. No actual iPhone firmware update should be required at that time.
Mays also comments briefly on tethering, but sadly, only to dash your hopes, my American friends:
As for tethering, by its nature, this function could exponentially increase traffic on the network, and we need to ensure that some of our current upgrades are in place before we can deliver the expanded functionality with the excellent performance that customers expect. We expect to offer tethering in the future.
Well, maybe not dash exactly, but definitely forestall indefinitely. The activation of MMS will likely act as a test for AT&T to see just how much pressure its network can sustain at this point, so it would be unwise for it to make any solid predictions about when it’ll be able to offer tethering until those results are in.
Check out TUAW’s post for the full-length press release from Mays.