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Wireless photos, video hit some static

New U.S. guidelines meant to free up wireless e-mails with attached photos and videos are getting a mixed reception from carriers.

New U.S. guidelines meant to free up wireless e-mails with attached photos and videos are running into some interference.

Two cellular trade groups, 3G Americas and CDMA Development Group, this week released the guidelines, which describe how cell phone carriers that use incompatible standards can exchange photo, video or audio e-mails.

The guidelines are getting a mixed reception, however. AT&T Wireless, T-Mobile USA and Cingular Wireless, which all use the GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) standard, are enthusiastic supporters. But a representative for Verizon Wireless, which uses CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) technology, was noncommittal Tuesday about whether the carrier would adopt them.

"We'll review them, but we haven't made any commitment to them," the representative said.

Photo and video e-mails are the latest, and most promising, of data-oriented services carriers are using to add luster to calling plans and seek new revenue opportunities. But such "mixed media" messages still can't connect between standards because carriers have yet to agree on a way to create the needed digital bridge.

About three-quarters of all cell phones use the GSM standard. CDMA is the next dominant cell phone standard, representing about 18 percent of the world's cell phones.

The four carriers, however, have expressed confidence that interoperable mixed media messaging services will be available this summer.