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What are the Key Differences Between SMS and MMS?

We use SMS almost daily, to send text messages. It is quite convenient as it helps you save time, and you can always go back and check what the person said on the text, if you had forgotten that initially. In short, it is useful! But imagine this, a person walks up to you on the street and asks you ‘What is an SMS?’. Do you think you would be able to give a proper answer? If the answer is no, then don’t worry, most people would be in the same situation. In addition, it is even highly probable that you would be even more confused if someone ended up asking you the difference between SMS and MMS.

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The terms SMS and MMS are often used in place of one another by the common folks. However, that is wrong, since they do have their differences, which is what makes each of them unique. To break it down for you, here is how you to say it: SMS messages are always based on text. On the other hand, MMS messages are based on image or video, basically media. Regardless, there are further specifics that we need to talk about here. Keep reading to get to the very basics and complexities of SMS vs MMS.

The full forms of SMS and MMS are: Short Messaging Service and Multimedia Messaging Service. While both the terms may have messaging service in their names, they do have certain differences.

What is SMS?

Let us start with the basic definition of what an SMS is, first. An SMS message is basically a text message. Furthermore, the full form of SMS, as we have mentioned above, also denotes the exact same thing – a text message. To be completely honest with you, the word SMS is nothing but just a glorified and more over the top annotation of a text message.

You can get SMS packs very easily, with your prepaid or postpaid plans from the operator of your choice. You will usually get phone recharge packs that offer 100 SMS/day, which we think are sufficient enough for an average user. However, you may also be able to purchase additional SMS packs that can help you, if you wish to send loads of text messages all through the day and month.

However, you need to understand that the text messages that you send do have limitations. They cannot send any sort of media files and are limited to only 160 characters. Once you have exhausted the 160 characters on your message, you will have to start off with another SMS. This technology was invented around the 1980s. In modern times, we still have the SMS service enjoying immense popularity and widescale usage, even though there are other alternative options for sending instant text messages right now.

Advantages of SMS

  • The 160-character limit is a boon for you when you want to keep messages short and crisp. You also save up a lot of time.
  • SMS packs are quite inexpensive, and you can get them for free with a prepaid or postpaid recharge on your SIM card.

Disadvantages of SMS

  • You cannot send media, or even emojis while using SMS texts.
  • If you have to text a lot of information via text, the 160-character limit could be annoying for you.

What is MMS?

You need to think of the MMS as an upgrade over the standard SMS service. Amongst the media that you can send over on MMS, you can send videos, photos, GIFs, and a lot more. In addition to that, you can even send up to 1600 characters of text via MMS. Thus, MMS offers 10 times of character spaces as compared to the SMS.

Advantages of MMS

  • These are far more eye-grabbing since pictures and videos do get hold of a person’s attention span.
  • You can also send large text messages via MMS, thanks to the larger character limit.

Disadvantages of MMS

  • These are more expensive than the standard SMS messages.
  • MMS is only supported on smartphones. While smartphone penetration in India is quite high, it is still possible that the receiver may not have one. In that case, your MMS message will never go to them.

The Key Differences between SMS & MMS:

Detail SMS MMS
Text Limit 60 Characters 1600 Characters
Packs Pricing Cheaper Expensive
Media Support Can’t include media/emojis Can include media/emojis
Device Support Works on all device types Only of Smartphones

How different is SMS and MMS to iMessage or WhatsApp?

Messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Messenger and others are basically working with the help of the internet. As a result, they are knowns as OTT (over the top) apps. Hence, you will never need the help of a cellular network to send texts through these platforms. In addition to text messages, these platforms are also quite optimised to allow media exchange. As a result, sending images, videos, voice notes, documents and more is quite easy on these. Just make sure the recipient has the same app that you are using to send the text, and that’s all there really is to it. These apps can themselves do the job of both SMS and MMS, which is what makes them so popular too.

Will SMS and MMS stand the test of time?

Unfortunately, the answer here is no. With the arrival of the RCS (Rich Communication Services) technology, SMS will inevitably lose all its fame. Specifically designed to replace SMS, it is now gaining in popularity as well. And let us face it, I think we can all agree to the fact that the SMS service was indeed long overdue for a much needed update.

And with RCS, things will get much simpler. You will get features such as read receipts, group texting, and even media sharing capabilities. Basically, it is a messaging service that is far more suited for the smartphone era that we are currently in.

But for now, SMS is still here. We hope this blog helped you clear out the differences between SMS and MMS and how each of them works.