As complaints roll in about iPhone MMS, AT&T says activation went smoothly

Users sound off on AT&T Facebook page about slow or interrupted MMS transmissions

AT&T activated Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) on Apple Inc's iPhone 3G and 3GS phones starting mid-day Friday nationwide, with some early users reporting transmission problems on AT&T's Facebook page.

It wasn't clear how significant or widespread any of the problems were early on, however. Some experts have wondered how well AT&T's network will perform with the added network load from pictures and other media sent via iPhones.

Complaints on AT&T's Facebook page ranged from taking 15 to 20 minutes to send a photo wirelessly, to having an MMS transmission halt part-way through. Others said MMS service was up but then dropped out on a later attempt.

However, despite the complaints, an AT&T spokesman said MMS was working: "We said we'd have MMS working today and it is," said AT&T's Mark Siegel at 5 p.m. ET, several hours after activation began. "From what we can see, it's going smoothly."

While many comments were critical of the service of the hundreds that were quickly posted just hours after the turn-on, many others on AT&T's Facebook page were also positive about the new MMS capability.

Jeff Neves in Sacramento reported the service was "working great" at about 4:40 p.m. ET, adding: "I'm doing my part to help CRASH the network!!"

The MMS activation through iTunes required the phones to have an iPhone OS 3.1 update installed, a fact that some customers apparently had missed.

Some early commenters reported problems of not being able to send MMS data at all, while others noted delays in sending pictures wirelessly.

Joey Edison reported on the AT&T Facebook page that sending a picture to a coworker shortly after 4 p.m. ET and said the co-worker hadn't received it 15 minutes later. "Fifteen minutes later, really? Maybe it's because we're obsessing and taking up all the data!"

Tamim Sekander wrote at about 4:20 ET: "Working good in Dallas, but to receive one, it's like 20 minutes to get it."

Another comment from James Rosenberg in Des Moines, Iowa, at about 4:20 ET said the network was "down hard," with no ability to send pictures.

Yet others commenters said they could start to send a picture and find it would stop transmitting about three-fourths of the way through.

Some experts said that MMS messages don't always get through on other networks and other devices because of interoperability problems between networks.

Some who couldn't get MMS to work properly urged other customers to complain and seek refunds, while others complained that iPhone still needed the ability to tether their phones to laptops for wireless transmissions.

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