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SMS versus MMS

This Article on SMS covers following:
SMS basics and types
SMS network and elements
SMS MO MT call flow
SMS versus MMS

This page on SMS versus MMS describes difference between SMS and MMS. It mention basics of SMS and MMS service provided in GSM/WCDMA network. It covers SMS protocol stack,SMS settings in mobile,MMS settings in mobile and maximum size allowed for sending SMS/MMS.


SMS stands for Short Message Service, as the name suggests SMS mainly used to send text messages from one mobile device to the other mobile device or from mobile to computer using email option.
Maximum size of SMS usually will be either of the following.
-160; 7-bit characters
-140; 8-bit characters
-70; 16-bit characters

If the other side of the mobile is not reachable or if it is switched off, in this case SMS will get stored in the SMS server often called as message server as per the time of expiry of the SMS set in the message settings of the mobile which in turn communicated to message storage server linked to the network.

Typical SMS settings in Mobile

Sending Options:
Network Selection: Cicuit Switch/Packet Switch
Character Support: GSM Alphabet/Unicode/Automatic OR Full/Enhanced
Relay path: Yes/No
Get Delivery Report: Yes/No
Keep a copy:Yes/No
Text Message Center
-Text Message Center Number: +919886005444(For example used in VODAFONE)
-Validity period: None/1 Hr/6Hr/12Hr/1day/3day/1Week/1month
-Default type: text/voice/Fax/X.400/Email/ERMES
-Name of the Center: SMS center-1

SMS protocol stack

SMS Protocol Stack SMS is part of CM (connection management) layer i.e. layer-3 in GSM protocol stack. Text or multimedia Messages from one mobile are sent to SMSC (short message service center). This SMSC has store-and-forward mechanism. Transmission of SMS/MMS between these SMSC and mobile device (TE-Terminal Equipment)) is done using MAP (mobile application part) of SS7 protocol. SMS protocol stack is mentioned in the figure-. It is defined in GSM Recommendation-3.40. SMS can also be delivered using GPRS protocol. For more on GPRS refer GPRS tutorial in Tutorials section.


MMS stands for Multimedia Message Service, as the name suggests MMS mainly used send multimedia messages which include picture, video, voice.
Maximum Size of MMS usually is about 300KB as per MMS standard 1.2 and is about 600KB as per MMS standard 1.3.

Similar to SMS, MMS can be sent from mobile to mobile or from mobile to fixed telephone(with SMS feature) or from mobile to computer.

If the opposite side of device is switched off or not reachable, MMS like SMS will be stored in the MMS server. W hen network found the device on or reachable it delivers the MMS to the device.

Typical MMS settings in Mobile

Sending Options:
-Priority: Urgent/Normal/Low
-Expiration:Max/1day/2day/1week/2wk/custom time
-Delivery Time: Immediately/1Hr/1D/1Wk/custom time
-Get Delivery Report: Yes/No
-Get Read Report: -Keep a copy:Yes/No
Receiving Options:
-Home Network: Auto download/Manual/Reject
-Foreign Network:Auto download/Manual/Restricted
-Send Read Report: Allowed/Never/Always Ask
-Send Delivery Report: Yes/No
-Reject Unknown:Yes/No
-Reject Advertisement:Yes/No
Message Size- 30KB/100KB/300KB, one can select any one as per need.



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