SMS Vs MMS. What is the difference?

  • Last Updated: 19 Apr 24
  • 11 min read
SMS Vs MMS differences

Every person sends and receives text messages, videos, pictures, GIFs, and audio clips to their friends. But you might not know about SMS and MMS. 

These both are texting service standards that enable users to send and receive messages between two or more mobile devices. The main difference between SMS and MMS is that SMS only supports plain text while MMS supports multimedia content. 

In this guide, we will discuss the definition of SMS and MMS and the major differences between them. 

🔑 KEY POINTS:

  • SMS stands for short message service, whereas MMS stands for multimedia message service. 
  • Users can only send up to 160-character plain text messages in SMS. 
  • Users can send videos, audio clips, pictures, GIFs, and text messages of up to 1600 characters via MMS.
  • MMS is more expensive than SMS and requires an internet connection to send messages.

What is SMS?

SMS stands for short message service that allows users to send plain text to another device. It is the most widespread and frequently used texting technology due to its simple way of sending a text. 

what is sms

Apart from mobile devices, users can also send text messages from their computer or desktop PC up to 160 characters. But if you are required to send long texts, you can send multiple SMS messages. 

SMS messaging is mainly used to send notifications, delivery updates, promotional messages, and codes for multifactor authentication. Its messages are transmitted via mobile data over cellular networks.

👋 Take a look at: Ultimate Guide to SMS Compliance: Rules and Best Practices

What is MMS?

MMS stands for multimedia message service that allows users to send media content, including videos, images, GIFs, and audio clips. It is an extension of the SMS protocol, built to support a wide range of multimedia content and longer text.

what is mms

Through MMS, users are allowed to send text messages with up to 1600 characters. However, devices require cellular data or a mobile internet connection to send messages. This versatile messaging technology enables seamless integration of multimedia content into text-based communication. MMS is suitable for a wide range of business and personal use cases. 

What is the difference between SMS and MMS messages?

Even though both SMS and MMS are texting services, there’s a huge difference between them. 

The main difference between SMS and MMS messages is the length of characters and content you send. 

Generally, SMS messages are limited to 160 characters of plain text, while MMS allows the user to send media content and text messages up to 1600 characters. MMS is perfect for messages that require a visual element. On the other hand, SMS is best for quick text-based alerts or notices. 

Nonetheless, sending MMS messages is generally more expensive than sending SMS messages. Users can also set Facebook Messenger for Android as their default SMS application and use it to send and receive SMS and MMS messages.

You can see the difference between the two messaging services through the comparison table. 

FeatureSMSMMS
MeaningShort Message ServiceMultimedia Messaging Service
ContentText only (up to 160 characters)Text (up to 1,600 characters) & Multimedia (pictures, videos, audio, GIFs)
CostGenerally cheaperGenerally more expensive (may vary by carrier)
CompatibilityWorks on all mobile phones, even older modelsRequires smartphones with multimedia capabilities
ReliabilityHighly reliable due to simpler technologySlightly less reliable due to larger data transfers
Delivery speedVery fastSlightly slower due to larger data size
Character Limit160 characters (may be broken into multiple SMS messages)1,600 characters (single message delivery)
ExamplesSending quick updates, short texts, codesSharing photos, videos, funny GIFs, group chats with media
Best forSimple communication, messages without mediaRicher communication, sharing visual content, and group multimedia messages.

SMS Vs MMS: A Side-by-Side Overview

A side by side comparison of sms vs mms

By now, you must have understood the SMS and MMS definition and their differences. 

A similar piece of content can look different when using SMS and MMS messaging as a strategy. Users have to include a combination of the two to keep some variety in their messaging for a good marketing strategy.

You may look at the below picture to find out about the difference between the same piece of content using SMS and MMS. 

SMS is compatible with all mobile phones.

SMS or Short Message Service is compatible with most mobile phones, even if they have a basic feature. On the other hand, MMS can only be used in devices that support MMS functionality and internet connection. 

Features Difference between SMS and MMS messaging

More content space: SMS Vs MMS

MMS or Multimedia Messaging Service offers significantly more space for content compared to SMS. It allows you to send a longer message of up to 1600 characters, while SMS messages are limited to 160 characters of plain text.

Rich media supports: SMS Vs MMS

MMS indeed supports rich media. Users are allowed to send audio and video clips, images, GIFs, and much more. In contrast, SMS only consists of plain text messages. In addition, MMS enables users to embed media directly into their messages.

Group Messaging: SMS Vs MMS

In the comparison of MMS Vs SMS, MMS group messaging is an excellent option for businesses that want to improve communication with a group of people more quickly and efficiently.

In addition, SMS messages cannot contain media content, whereas MMS allows the delivery of multimedia content to multiple recipients without a character limit. 

Overall, MMS provides a better experience in comparison with SMS. MMS allows you to chat seamlessly in one conversation while sending group texts. 

Pricing Difference between SMS and MMS messaging

The pricing difference between SMS and MMS messaging is due to the amount of data transferred. No wonder MMS messages cost more than SMS messages because MMS requires carriers to send more data.

Furthermore, MMS messages are more costly because of the higher bandwidth to send heavier files.

Additionally, MMS campaigns have a 20% higher opt-in rate than SMS campaigns. However, 

MMS messages are more likely to be shared on social media, which justifies the higher cost of certain marketing strategies. 

Should I Use SMS or MMS?

There’s no doubt that both text message services are useful for businesses and personal use. 

But you have to decide which type of message you are sending and what your use case is. If you want to send a quick and short notification, an SMS message is perfect for you to use.

For businesses, it’s more likely to need an MMS to send visual content to increase the engagement of the audience. 

Overall, you can use SMS for “short and sweet” notifications, while MMS can be used to send longer and media content.

Use cases of SMS messages:

SMS is used by various users for business and personal use. It is mainly used for shorter alerts, coders for multifactor authentication, and conversational marketing. 

These are the few use cases of SMS messages:

  • Appointment updates and reminders
  • Order confirmation and shipping information 
  • Codes for two-factor authentication
  • Account information
  • Product updates
  • Bank notification

Use cases of MMS messages:

Unlike SMS, which is used for short messages, MMS messages are used to send longer and engaging multimedia content. Businesses can send videos and pictures to notify customers about their new products or sales. 

These are the few use cases of MMS messages:

  • To offer coupons and promo codes 
  • Send a birthday message
  • New product announcements
  • Product Registration
  • Leftc art messages
  • Sales promotions

Pros and Cons of SMS and MMS messages

Benefits of SMS messages 

Users can benefit from various ways by using SMS. The main beneficial point of Short Message Service is cost-effectiveness

Further, it has high open rates, and some carriers in the US offer unlimited texting. Users don’t have to connect to the internet to send messages. Users can send messages through a mobile network connection. 

It is mainly used for short messages such as password resets and two-factor authentication. Both businesses and customers can use this simple and easy messaging service.

Drawbacks of SMS messages

By using SMS, users cannot send text messages with more than a 160-character limit. Even more, users aren’t notified whether the recipient has read your messages or not. 

SMS messages are incompatible with the DND (Do Not Disturb) mode and unreliable for message delivery. 

The major disadvantage of using SMS is that users cannot send any multimedia content. 

Benefits of MMS messages:

MMS offers you several special features that help you to benefit in various ways. It allows users to exchange pictures, GIFs, audio, and video clips. 

Moreover, it enhances the engagement of the audience due to its catchy visual content. Users can also send a longer message of up to 1600 characters.

MMS messages are a more engaging and visually appealing way to communicate, making them effective for marketing.

Drawbacks of MMS messages:

To send MMS messages, the user device is required to connect to the internet to send multimedia files. 

The content sent via MMS may only be seen by a faction of the target audience because not all mobile devices are MMS-enabled. 

MMS messages use more cellular data due to sending larger file sizes. Furthermore, there may be file size limitations, and if the size exceeds, you may not be able to send the message. 

Engage Better with KrispCall: Affordable SMS & MMS for Brands

Businesses need to send SMS and MMS messages to better engage with the targeted customers.

Therefore, you need a seamless connection to connect with customers. Then, KrispCall might be the best option for you to send and receive SMS and MMS messages. KrispCall’s SMS text messaging feature offers global coverage that allows you to send and receive text messages anywhere in the world. 

Moreover, KrispCall also offers you a bulk SMS marketing solution with features for scheduling and analyzing campaigns.

When it comes to Multimedia Messaging, you can boost your brand recognition by sending vibrant images and compelling videos that grab the attention of your audience. 

Here are a few steps that you can take to send SMS and MMS messages using the KrispCall dashboard:

  1. Log in to your KrispCall Dashboard. 
  2. Tap on your Number and go to the “New Message” Button. 
  3. Enter the recipient’s phone number in the “To” field. 
  4. Go to the message section and click on Upload attachments Review your message. 
  5. Click on the “Send” button to finally send your SMS. 
  6. While sending your MMS, please note that the overall file size in the message is less than 5 MB

You can also schedule a virtual meeting with a KrispCall podcast specialist to learn more about KrispCall. Book a KrispCall’s free demo now. 

SMS Vs MMS: Which is the Better Choice for My Business?

SMS and MMS are both valuable for business communication and marketing. You can use SMS to send short notification messages, whereas, for visual content like sending images and videos, you can use MMS. 

The choice between SMS and MMS relies on your specific needs, goals, and the nature of the content being shared. 

Both of them have their own benefits and drawbacks. SMS will be less costly to send text messages, while MMS will be more costly to send large-size files.  

You can choose KrispCall for seamless connectivity and cost-effective pricing plans to send and receive SMS and MMS.

FAQ

Are text messages SMS or MMS?

Text messages of up to 160 characters without any visual content are SMS, whereas text that includes media content like pictures, emojis, video, or a website link is MMS. 

What file types can I send with MMS?

You can send each and every type of multimedia file, including video, audio, pictures, GIFs, emojis, and many more. 

Can I convert an MMS message to an SMS message?

Yes, it’s possible to convert an MMS message to an SMS message using a routing type called “Convert to SMS with Web Link.” It will simply define any MMS messages sent via the route that should be converted to SMS. 

Does MMS cost money?

Yes, MMS costs more money than SMS. The cost of MMS is higher due to multimedia content like videos, pictures, and audio.

Which is cheaper, SMS or MMS?

SMS is way cheaper than MMS. SMS includes a short message of up to 160 characters is the main reason for its low cost. 

Can you send MMS messages in any country?

Users can send MMS messages in any country. But you must enable the international roaming service. 

Arun Chaudhary

Arun is SEO Analyst at KrispCall. He has written in extensively in the field of cloud telephony and call center solutions.

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