If you want to create a video that can be spread virally via mobile phone, you must adhere to strict guidelines. The video must be able to be forwarded via MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service), which means that the video must comply with MMS standards.
The general standard file size for an MMS is 300 kb maximum. However, you should always create your videos with a maximum file size of 295 kb, to make room for any header information that may be added by the network / carrier.
Some phones will not allow you to send an MMS that exceeds this file size, while some providers will simply charge you a high fee if you exceed the 300 kb limit. For example, in the United States, it is known that ‘AT&T’ charges its subscribers massive fees for each large MMS that exceeds 300kb, subscribers are surprised when it comes time to bill because they did not do the proper research.
Every carrier is different and it is recommended that mobile device users read their phone’s MMS capabilities and carrier file size. It is also important to note the additional amount that will be charged if you exceed this limit. It has been reported that in Australia ‘Virgin’ only allows its users to send an MMS if it remains below the file size of 100kb. Obviously, the 100kb was designed for images, not video, which means that Virgin users will not be your best target market if you want a viral video to reach the masses.
An MMS cannot be fragmented. This means that it cannot be divided into 2 messages and classified on the receiver’s phone as a single message. When you write an SMS message that exceeds 160 characters, your phone will send the message in 2 separate parts and the recipient’s phone will put the 2 together to make it look like a single message. MMS does not have this functionality! A video cannot be split and sent over a network.
Sending an MMS is based on events, not data. Therefore, MMS clients are not charged for the GPRS component used during the transport of their MMS message over the network. As a user, you are billed for the event, not the size of the video. It doesn’t matter if the video is 230 kb or 295 kb, the cost to the user remains the same. For this reason, mobile video producers could also get as close to 295kb as possible. The only benefit to the user is that smaller videos will get to your phone faster, but the time difference is not worth worrying about in today’s mobile world.
While 300 kb is currently the widespread standard for most countries like Australia, we are now seeing high-end phones, carriers and networks strategically coming together to double the limit from 300 kb to 600 kb. For example, the BlackJack 2 has a 600 kb limit and a recommended video file size is 595 kb. Only a small minority of people can receive an MMS of that size, so I still recommend creating all viral videos at 295kb so that your viral video reaches the largest number of eyeballs.
Research and know the capabilities of your market:
– In India, it is common for videos for mobile devices to be 100 kb.
– In Sweden, the Telia network restricts the size of MMS to 300kB
– All 3G compatible phones can receive / send 300kb MMS
– Most older phones only support 100kb, while even older phones only support 50kb
– Nokia S60 devices have a 100 kb limit, while Nokia S40 devices only have a 45 kb limit
– Telstra = 500 kb
– Optus = 200 kb
– Vodafone = 100 kb
– Three = 300 kb
– Virgin = 100kb