Three intends to up the prices of MMS messages from 17.4p to 40p, starting on June 13. The price hike puts Three in-line with its main UK rivals who charge between £0.35 and £0.45 per MMS. With increasing smartphone use, Three is now encouraging people to move over to online messaging apps which instead use up data.
MMS messages (picture or video messages) have an upper size limit of 300KB. Three warned users of older devices that their device may recognise emoticons as photos and would subsequently turn the SMS message into an MMS message and charge the user more than expected. This is one of the main reasons the company has suggested that users should use data messaging apps such as WhatsApp.
“There are other ways to send multimedia messages whilst keeping the costs at bay, explains Three. “Mobile applications are probably the most popular method. In fact, some of them, like Skype are preloaded on most of our phones.
“Also, all of our tariffs include internet allowance so using applications like Skype, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger or Viber to name a few, for sending MMS will use the data included in your package.”
A reason for the price change could be that it is now more expensive for Three to deliver MMS messages, however it is also plausible that Three has been subsidising the costs of MMS deliverance in the past to be more competitive against rivals, but with the rise of data messaging apps there is no longer any need for the company to continue that practice. Responding to Ars Technica, a Three spokesperson declined to comment on the price change, just stating that it “follows a regular review of our [Three] pricing."