AT&T slates iPhone MMS launch for Friday

3G and 3GS owners must first download an update via iTunes

AT&T will officially launch the long-awaited MMS service for the iPhone on Friday, but some users have reported it's already working, according to messages on the company's Facebook site.

"We know you've been eager for this service so we wanted to offer a quick update on the launch plans for MMS on Friday, Sept. 25," AT&T said in a short message on its sanctioned Facebook page . "Late morning, Pacific Time, on Friday, the new carrier settings update enabling MMS should be live and ready ... to download through iTunes. We ll provide the steps and all of the details you need right here at that time."

Several users, however, noted that AT&T had already flipped their MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) switch. "MMS is working on my iPhone in New York," said Eliezer Quinones Wednesday evening in a message on AT&T's Facebook page.

Two weeks ago, other users claimed that AT&T had enabled MMS for their accounts, a move some credited to limited testing by the mobile service provider.

iPhone owners have blasted AT&T for not offering MMS -- which lets users send photos, video and other content attached to text messages -- when the iPhone debuted in 2007. Critics stepped up their complaints in June , when Apple said the new iPhone 3.0 software would support MMS, but implied that AT&T would not immediately offer the service.

Originally, AT&T had pegged MMS availability by the end of summer, which officially ended on Monday.

Several times since June, AT&T explained the delay as necessary to beef up its network to accommodate the expected "record traffic" of MMS .

iPhone 3G and 3GS users will be able to use MMS starting tomorrow; owners of the first-generation iPhone won't, however, due to hardware limitations of the original model.

AT&T 's tethering plans remain unclear . Earlier this month, an AT&T spokeswoman said only that tethering -- which lets mobile phone users access the Internet from a laptop by linking it via Bluetooth to an iPhone's wireless data connection -- would be offered at some point "in the future." However, she did confirm that tethering would not be included in tomorrow's iTunes update

As AT&T noted, iPhone owners must update their phones using iTunes before using MMS.

This story, "AT&T slates iPhone MMS launch for Friday" was originally published by Computerworld.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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