Ericsson and Westel today launched the world's first commercial, full-scale Multimedia Messaging Services (MMS) based on Ericsson's MMS technology. Now mobile subscribers in Hungary are able to send and receive multimedia messages containing image, text and sound.

"This is a major achievement for the whole industry. Westel succeeded in putting MMS on the market for revenue producing customers together with Ericsson, the clear market leading supplier of multimedia messaging" said Andras Sugar, CEO of Westel. "As the innovative leader of the Hungarian mobile market, we are dedicated to bring people even closer to each other by helping them capture memories and share the special moments of their lives."

The commercial launch of MMS is a major footstep towards the take off of GPRS services. With this launch, MMS will be available for the almost 2.75 million subscribers of Westel, which marks up for more than 50% of the Hungarian market. However, as several industry reports have indicated, MMS is expected to be one of the biggest growth areas in mobile services over the next few years, and the natural evolution of Short Message Service (SMS).

"The Hungarian market with its relatively low PC penetration, high mobile phone penetration and high SMS usage is a perfect market for the MMS service. Westel, with its high innovation and drive, is an excellent partner for us in offering these fun and exciting services to users," said Ingvar Larsson, Vice President and General Manager of Ericsson Service Network and Applications.

It is an outstanding achievement that Westel makes MMS available for both its monthly subscription and prepay card customers from the first day of launching the service.

The MMS launch was based on SonyEricsson's T68i mobile phones and CommuniCam II TM cameras, today the only MMS enabled device on the market.