Why Is Sprint Blocking MMS Picture Messages On High-End Phones?

Sprint appears to be blocking MMS picture messages on certain phones, specifically high-end ones like the HTC Touch. Although the phones are fully capable of sending and receiving such messages, Sprint sells them with the required features disabled, and each time a third-party developer comes up with a software solution that solves the problem, Sprint swoops in and “fixes” it so that it no longer works.

One member of this forum posted a response he received from a Sprint CSR explaining why Sprint does this:

I understand your frustration. I also have a Touch and when I send pictures, I have to use the same method as Mary O outlined below.

Understand that Sprint uses CDMA technology to provide cellular and data usage to our customers. So, even though the phone may have been designed to send pictures a certain way, the phone had to be altered by HTC to work on our network. You may be able to send pictures as text messages on other networks, but the speeds of your data and the quality of your phone calls would not be as they are with Sprint.

We hear your feedback loud and clear. A lot of employees here at Sprint have the same phone as you and I and have to send pictures the same way.

Again, I am sorry for any inconvenience that this causes you on a daily basis. But please understand that if this feature was altered in some way, it was for the benefit of customers, not to aggravate them.

Other forum members point out that Sprint isn’t the only company to use CDMA—Verizon and Alltel do as well, and they allow MMS messaging. Beyond that, it’s not every phone that’s disabled, only certain high-end ones.

What’s even more ridiculous is that the affected customers are paying for the same multimedia messaging plan that every other customer has—yet they’re being artificially restricted from using MMS. One frustrated Sprint customer writes,

Sprint has started blocking the messages from their end and now claim that the feature isn’t intended for these devices. It’s a shame that they have taken this stance because a lot of people bought these expensive devices precisely because they are capable of all sorts of functions like multimedia, messaging, and web browsing.

The issue a lot of us have is that

  • The devices are capable of sending MMS messages
  • The same devices on other carriers can send these messages
  • My plan includes these messages
  • The device was advertised as being capable of multimedia messages
  • I was sending the messages until recently
  • The ability to send the messages is now blocked

(Thanks to Jerry and Dwayne!)

(Cage photo: Getty)