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Got a note? Talk to the phone

A new report shows that many cell phone owners will send wireless e-mails with attachments to each other by 2007. But is there really money in messaging?

About one in six North American cell phone owners will send or receive an e-mail that contains an attachment by 2007, a new study suggests.

Market research firm Strategy Analytics released its findings about MMS, or Multimedia Message Service, on Tuesday. MMS text messages contain attachments such as a photo or sound recording, and are sent wirelessly between cell phones.

Although the technology is still in its infancy in the United States, some major carriers are looking to push its adoption. Verizon Wireless plans to offer MMS services as part of its upcoming Get It Now service.

While popular in Europe, wireless messaging hasn't been the "killer app" many cell phone carriers had hoped for in the United States. Only 10 million of the nation's 140 million cell phone owners use their handsets for anything more than voice calls.

That hasn't discouraged wireless companies, which are increasingly looking at new technology and services to make up for revenue lost amid fierce competition. Wireless messaging is one potential bright spot, as it can bring in subscription fees that range between $4 and $12 a month. Carriers also collect a small fee each time a message is sent between cell phones.

The report is one of the first to examine the market for MMS in North America. Yet analyst David Kerr's projections paint a less-than-exciting portrait of the market's potential; some $675 million in revenue worldwide is expected for carriers offering MMS services by 2007.

AT&T Wireless and Cingular Wireless are expected to sell MMS-capable phones next year. Meanwhile, Verizon will offer the first MMS services for wireless subscribers as part of its upcoming service for game and application downloads. The Verizon service is expected to launch in the next few days, said spokesman Jeffrey Nelson.

Verizon Wireless will use Eyematic's MMS application called "Shout Messenger" for its service. The application allows subscribers to attach animated images of popular comic book characters Spider-Man, The Hulk, Wolverine or Storm to any wireless message.