SMS Marketing

MMS vs SMS: How to Tell The Difference

April 3, 2023

Written By

The Via Team

a phone displays different messaging apps

Mobile devices have made connecting with friends and family more accessible than ever. Regarding mobile communication, the most commonly used terms are SMS and MMS. Although they are both used to send messages via mobile devices, there are some significant differences between them. Before diving into the main differences, let’s define MMS and SMS.

What is MMS?

MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) is a way to send pictures, videos, audio files, and text messages between mobile devices. It's like a text message, but you can add pictures or videos to it. MMS messages can be sent to other mobile phones or email addresses. It's a fun way to share media.

What is SMS?

SMS (Short Message Service) is a way to send text messages from one mobile device to another. It's like sending a written message, but it's sent electronically over the cellular network. SMS messages are limited to 160 characters, but you can send multiple messages if you need to say more. It's a quick and convenient way to communicate with friends and family, and it's also used by businesses to send notifications or alerts to customers.

10 Ways to Tell The Difference

1.  Character limit

SMS stands for Short Message Service; as the name suggests, it has a character limit. SMS messages are limited to 160 characters, while MMS messages don't have a character limit and can be much longer.

2.  Multimedia content

MMS messages can contain multimedia content such as images, videos, and audio, while SMS messages are limited to text only.

3. File size

SMS messages have a small file size limit, so you can't send large files through SMS. MMS messages, on the other hand, have a much larger file size limit so that you can send larger files such as videos or high-quality images.

4. Cost

SMS messages are typically cheaper than MMS messages. This is because MMS messages use data to send multimedia content, while SMS messages don't require data.

5. Delivery confirmation

SMS messages offer delivery confirmation to know when the message has been delivered to the recipient's phone. There is no delivery confirmation with MMS messages, so you will only know if the message has been delivered if the recipient tells you.

6. Appearance

SMS messages are plain text, while MMS messages can contain multimedia content. When you receive an MMS message, it usually displays a thumbnail image or video, indicating that it includes multimedia content.

7. Group messaging

SMS messages can be sent to multiple recipients simultaneously, but MMS messages are limited to one recipient at a time. To send a message to multiple recipients, you must send separate MMS messages to each person.

8. Data usage

MMS messages use data to send multimedia content, which can be expensive if you have a limited data plan. SMS messages don't use data, so they are a more cost-effective option.

9. Compatibility

SMS messages are compatible with all mobile devices, while MMS messages may not be compatible with older or less advanced mobile devices.

10. Security

SMS messages are more secure than MMS messages because they are encrypted, while MMS messages may not be encrypted.

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In Short

Let’s wrap this up. SMS and MMS are two different types of messages used for mobile communication. SMS messages are limited to text, have a character limit of 160, and offer delivery confirmation. MMS messages can contain multimedia content, have a larger file size limit, and may not provide delivery confirmation. Knowing the difference can help you choose the right message type for your needs, whether you want to send a quick text or share multimedia content. 

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