If you want to create a video that can be spread virally via the mobile phone medium you must adhere to strict guidelines. The video must be able to be forwarded via MMS (Multimedia Message Service), which means the video must conform to MMS standards.
The general standard file size for an MMS is 300kb maximum. However, you should always create your videos with a maximum file size of 295kb, to leave room for any header information that may be added by the network/carrier.
Some phones won’t let you send an MMS that exceeds this file size, while some carriers will simply charge you a large fee if you exceed the 300kb limit. For example, in America ‘AT&T’ have been known to charge their subscribers massive fees for every large MMS that exceeds 300kb, subscribers are then shocked come bill time because they did not do the proper research.
Every carrier is different and it is recommended that mobile users read up on their phone’s MMS capabilities and the carrier’s file size. It is also important to note down how much extra you will be charged if you exceed this limit. It has been reported that in Australia ‘Virgin’ only allow their users to send an MMS if it stays under the 100kb file size. The 100kb was obviously designed for pictures, not video, meaning Virgin users won’t be your best target market if you want to get a viral video to the masses.
An MMS cannot be fragmented. This means it cannot be broken up into 2 messages and collated on the receiver’s phone as a single message. When you type an SMS message that exceeds 160 characters, your phone will send the message in 2 separate parts and the receiver’s phone will then put the 2 together to make it look like a single message. MMS does not have this functionality! A video cannot be broken up and sent across a network.
The sending of an MMS is event-based, not data-based. Therefore, MMS customers are not charged for the GPRS component utilised during the carriage of their MMS message through the network. As a user you are billed on the event, not on the size of the video. It doesn’t matter whether the video is 230kb or 295kb, the cost to the user is still the same. For this reason, producers of mobile videos might as well get as close to 295kb as possible. The only benefit to the user is that smaller videos will reach their phone quicker, but the time difference is not worth worrying about in today’s mobile world.
While 300kb is currently the generalised standard for most countries like Australia, we are now seeing high-end phones, carriers and networks all strategically pulling together to double the 300kb limit to 600kb. For example, the BlackJack 2 has a limit of 600kb, and a recommended video file size if 595kb. Only a small minority of people can receive an MMS of that size, so I still recommend creating all viral videos at 295kb to get your viral video to the highest number of eyeballs.
Do your research and know your market’s capabilities:
– In India, it’s common for mobile videos to be 100kb
– In Sweden, the network Telia restricts MMS size to 300kB
– All 3G compatible phones can receive/send 300kb MMS
– Most older phones may only allow 100kb, whilst even older phones may only allow 50kb
– Nokia S60 devices have a 100kb limit, whilst Nokia S40 devices only have a 45kb limit
– Telstra = 500kb
– Optus = 200kb
– Vodafone = 100kb
– Three = 300kb
– Virgin = 100kb