AT&T adding MMS to the iPhone Sept. 25

AT&T Mobility said it would add MMS functionality to Apple's iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS on Sept. 25, more than three months after it launched the iPhone 3GS without the functionality in place.

The carrier had repeatedly said it would support iPhone picture messaging "later this summer." AT&T has offered MMS services across a vast array of devices for years, though Apple only recently introduced the feature to its iPhone platform through its 3.0 upgrade.

AT&T said in a statement that it knew its iPhone customers were "eager" for MMS functionality, and that it had been working over the past several months to prepare its systems and network for launch of MMS service. "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," AT&T said. "We appreciate your patience as we work toward that end."

AT&T noted that wireless use has grown an average of 350 percent year-over-year for the past two years, a trend that it expects to continue. Indeed, AT&T plans to begin upgrading its network later this year to support theoretical peak downlink speeds of 7.2 Mbps, and expects to complete the work by 2011.

Although AT&T does plan to support iPhone MMS, it is postponing indefinitely support for iPhone tethering, which would allow users to connect computers to AT&T's network through their iPhone. Tethering was another feature introduced via Apple's 3.0 iPhone upgrade, and is supported by other iPhone carriers.

"By its nature, (tethering) 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," AT&T said in a statement. "We expect to offer tethering in the future."

For more:
- see this AT&T release

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