AT&T: iPhone MMS coming Sept. 25, tethering still delayed


AT&T is finally being frank about why it has delayed multimedia messaging services (MMS) and tethering capabilities on the iPhone, and it has to do with the fact that the operator is grappling with the tremendous growth coming from the iPhone.

In announcing that MMS would finally become available on Sept. 25, through a new software release--six months after Apple confirmed its iPhone OS 3.0 software update would support MMS. AT&T said: "The unique capabilities and high usage of the iPhone's multimedia capabilities required us to work on our network MMS architecture to carry the expected record volumes of MMS traffic and ensure an excellent experience from Day One. Wireless use on our network has grown an average of 350 percent year-over-year for the past two years, and is projected to continue at a rapid pace in 2009 and beyond."

That was a different story than what AT&T said back in June, when iPhone users were steaming about the fact that AT&T wasn't including MMS and tethering with the new iPhone software release. At the time, AT&T wouldn't disclose why it could not immediately support the two capabilities, and an AT&T spokesman told that the lack of support was unrelated to AT&T's 3G network.

Data tethering is still delayed. AT&T's explanation: "By its nature, this function could exponentially increase traffic on the network, and we need to ensure that some of our current upgrades are in place before we can deliver the expanded functionality with the excellent performance that customers expect," the carrier said in a statement. "We expect to offer tethering in the future." AT&T CEO Ralph de la Vega said in November 2008 that an official iPhone tethering option would be announced "soon."

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