What are they thinking?

AT&T is launching its multimedia messaging service (MMS) to iPhone customers today (this afternoon; eastern time).

MMS allows users to send picture and video messages. The service will be at no additional charge.

In other words, prepare for a possible network meltdown.

AT&T currently has over nine million iPhone users. Figures released over the summer show that iPhoners are using some 20 times the amount of bandwidth compared to all other AT&T customers. That includes other smartphone users.

There are some 20 million other smartphone users on AT&T . They just don't suck up the bandwidth like iPhone users do (maybe those gazillions of iPhone apps have something to do with it). So my poor Palm Centro can't download my Gmail (which was down for its own reasons this week), because of all those nearby iPhone users who are playing retro Frogger and watching diet coke mento bombs on Youtube.

As for that 3G network that AT&T loves to brag about; it's apparantly near the breaking point in some areas.

AT&T can't get new towers up and upgrade the network fast enough. The problem is physically putting up more cell towers tends to be a slow journey through each individual and local bureaucratic maze involved.

With MMS coming on the scene just in time for what is a three day weekend for many around the country, it will be interesting to see what happens between now and Tuesday.