BBC Radio 1 Team-up with the Mobile Data Association

30th November 2009

BBC Radio 1 has recently announced it will be offering a free picture messaging day on the 11th December, where listeners can send in free Multimedia texts messages to them from their mobile phone.

The radio station, popular with younger people for providing new and chart music throughout the day, have decided to give their listeners a big incentive to get in touch with them. Some pictures received will be added to the website, available for everyone to see, meaning that by sending in a picture, the sender could have their picture shown and discussed live on radio. radio1_news_150509

Normally, picture messages are charged at around 40p for each message sent and some mobile telephone users opt to send pictures via email to cut the cost. This free service will enable users to send messages for free, allowing users to try out picture messaging without having to face the 40p charge.

The Mobile industry trade body, The Mobile Data Association (MDA), brought together each of the UK’s major mobile network operators to form a partnership with the BBC which aims to get more young people involved with the station. The MDA has also launched an educational website with the long-term aim of helping people to send picture messages:

Users will still text their message to the very memorable 81199 and the BBC hopes that the scheme will prompt listeners to get involved in the station. Martin Ballard, Operations Director at the MDA, said: “BBC Radio 1’s Picture Messaging Day should provide a springboard to generate further interest in the medium. Our getsettings website aims to address configuration issues around older handsets in circulation and SIM-only contracts. But the emergence of increasingly sophisticated and affordable devices means users can begin to capitalise on the rich mobile messaging facilities which are now available, as they did with text messaging at the beginning of the decade.

The main mobile service providers, 3, O2, Orange, T-Mobile, Tesco Mobile, Vodafone and Virgin Media, have all opted in to this offer.. The rewards of doing this are endless. The majority of mobile phone users don’t send picture messages, simply because they do not know how and are unaware of the costs involved. The BBC and MDA hope that by offering this free messaging day, more users will learn to send MMS.

The MDA have issued this guide to anyone unsure about sending a Multimedia Message to Radio 1.

1. The following networks are participating and have agreed to provide free picture messages to the Radio 1 text number 81199 for the day: 3, O2, Orange, T-Mobile, Tesco Mobile, Vodafone and Virgin Media.

2, This does not include pictures sent from Eire, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.

3. Only picture messages sent to the Radio 1 text number 81199 between midnight Thursday 10th December and midnight Friday 11th December will be free.

4. Mobile handsets with integrated cameras should all be able to send picture messages. Most phones are now instantly set up to send picture messages ‘out of the box’.

5. Phones which are not locked to the SIM’s network might need to have the correct settings installed. These are usually phones which have previously been used on a different network or are being used with ‘SIM only’ contracts. The correct settings are available from the Mobile Network Operators’ websites or further information and links are available at

6. Customers must have Picture Messaging (or MMS) included in their contracts (pre pay or post pay) and Picture Messaging must be enabled on their handsets.

So get your phones out and start snapping, you never know, your picture could be on the BBC!