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Cellular Phones/SMS/MMS Questions


I use a Nexus 4 on an AT&T Pay as You Go plan which charges extra for MMS but not SMS.  I use the standard messaging app, not the new Hangouts app.  Iím usually connected to WiFi when I send a message, but not always.  Occasionally I'm charged for a MMS message even though I don't specify that MMS should be used.  I often send long messages, probably several hundred characters.  So,
1) When I send a big message, is it sent via multiple SMS messages or a single MMS message?  If SMS, does the receiving phone (usually an iPhone) reassemble the multiple SMS messages automatically and transparently to the recipient, or do they see the individual SMS messages?
2) Is MMS required to send a photo?  
3) Sometimes Iíd like to forward a message to someone else.  However, I donít see how to do this.  How can I do this in the standard app?  If it canít, do I need to use a different message app?  
4) Iím happy with the standard app with one exception.  When Iím composing a long multi-line response I can only see 3 lines at a time.  With more lines I must scroll up and down, which is tedious and aggravating.  Is there a way to see more lines in the standard app?  If not, can you suggest an app that addresses this problem?  I'd like something simple, without extra bells & whistles.


What constitutes an SMS message is one that is just letters and numbers and nothing else. No links to web site, no pictures, etc. An SMS is 126 characters per message. If you create an SMS that is over 126 characters, then it will be sent in multiple packets. Most carriers and phones can send a message and as SMS and make it look longer by putting it all together, however, they are still only that many characters. If you add pictures, emoticons, links, etc., the message becomes MMS. Most carriers provide unlmited text packages that are both MMS and SMS so that people don't have to worry or think about what they are sending. That is best thing to do, in my opinion. However, when it comes to WiFi, if you only have a true SMS only package, then if you send a SMS while on WiFi, it is not free because SMS comes out of the voice network, not data. An MMS on the other hand, would be free on WiFi, since it is data. Just like making a voice call always comes out of our minute bucket, so does SMS (if you don't have unlimited). To make things a little more complicated, if you have an iPhone, whenever you send an iMessage to another iPhone or iPad user, there is no charge because iMessaging doesn't come out of any bucket when you are on WiFi.

In a nutshell, I would recommend making sure you have an unlimited SMS/MMS package from your carrier and then you don't have to worry whether you are on WiFi or not and whether the message is SMS and MMS. I hope this helps.

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I can answer questions on cellular phones, the physical device, the network, contracts, billing, ordering, porting and what to look for when purchasing cell phones. I am located in the United States. I am an expert on BlackBerrys, Treos, HTC devices and iPhones as well as cellphones and aircards. I have over 15 years of experience in both the wireless and wireline world with the carriers. I have a lot of knowledge regarding the wireless providers - their services, prices and policies, both GSM AT&T and T-Mobile) and CDMA (Verizon, Sprint/Nextel). I am very familiar with the individual devices and their specifications. I can also answer questions regarding BlackBerrys, iPhones and other PDAs, both Palm-based and Windows-based. I can troubleshoot most any problem someone is having with their cellular device or with the provider.


Over 20 years in the Telecom industry working for the carriers with individuals, small business, medium business and large corporations(Fortune 500). Also worked as a professor in Maryland for 10 years teaching telecommunications.

I belong to several organizations

Master's in Telecommunications

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Received several awards for papers that I have published over the years

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