REDMOND, Washington: Britain’s Vodafone Group Plc is aligning with Microsoft Corporation’s MSN division to introduce an instant messaging service that facilitates interaction between a mobile phone and a personal computer. The two companies will together launch the service, described as enhanced messaging service — the first of its kind — in several European countries by year-end.
The two companies in a statement said the service will enable users to see their contacts and exchange messages between a MSN Messenger on a computer and a Vodafone Messenger on mobile phones, bringing together the 165 million users of the latter and the the 155 million of the former around the world.
Vodafone is the world’s largest mobile operator by revenues. It said the proposed service will be charged on the basis of “calling party pays”.Users of MSN Messenger, who do not pay for the IM service, would be able to reach Vodafone customers by purchasing online with a credit card.
The service is to go into trials in July and will be initially introduced in Italy, Spain and the Netherlands in the next two months, a Vodafone spokesperson said.
Vodafone’s instant messaging facility is used by customers of its Live! service mainly for purposes of downloading games, movies and music.
Messages sent from a Vodafone handset to a computer will be delivered in text and will take some time before it lands in the MSN Messenger panel.