Having gained almost cult status among the "technology elite," the news that Twitter has struck an agreement with Vodafone UK to resume updates via SMS will be widely applauded. The deal will allow Vodafone customers to receive free SMS Tweets, with outgoing SMS Tweets coming out of customers' text message bundles. The important aspect is that using Twitter will not incur any additional cost and, in addition, for the first weeks, sending Tweets will not be deducted from subscribers' SMS bundle.
Twitter co-founder Biz Ston withdrew UK inbound SMS Tweets last August, claiming excessive termination fees could cost the service US$1,000 per user per year. However, despite attempting to use alternative routing, Twitter has now forged a deal with Vodafone, with O2, T-Mobile and 3UK likely to sign up within days.
Commenting on the development, IDC analyst Jonathan Arber said there was an ongoing debate around whether social networks would cannibalise SMS, "but in fact the two services fit together nicely in many cases. As social networks move closer towards the Twitter 'real time' conversational model (as evidenced by Facebook's recent makeover), mobile updates become increasingly valuable to consumers."
Arber believes mobile and Twitter are an ideal fit, given the immediate nature of the service, and SMS updates would allow all customers to Tweet on the move. "That being said, there are already a number of unofficial Twitter mobile applications which do the job just fine, and many early adopters will likely have discovered these already." he added.
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