Vodafone scores exclusive Twitter deal

If the 3G war is partly fought over content, Vodafone just won a battle.

Currently, only Twitter users in North America get free tweets to their mobiles. That will soon change in New Zealand (and the UK), with Vodafone set to offer free tweets.

When Twitter launched, it offered free updates worldwide. But the cost proved ruiness for the revenue-less microblogging service, which has to pay for all the updates - or “tweets” via txt.

It quickly reduced its free tweets coverage to North America-only.

While international Twitter users can still get tweets sent directly to a mobile, it’s only on a user-pays model. International txt rates vary according to plan, but typically cost around 60 cents a message. That’s a lot to pay to learn that your friend is “thinking about coffee”.

Consequently, a majority of Kiwis access Twitter - a blogging service whose pleasingly streamline interface was designed for mobiles - via a PC, or stump up data charges to view the web version on their phone.

That could all be about to change.

Vodafone says it has tied up an exclusive deal with Twitter, under which NZ tweeters - provide they’re on Vodafone’s network, natchers - will receive updates free.

Twitter updates you send from your mobile will be charged at a standard txt rate (still much preferable to international rates) and involve txting a short code (TWTR/8987) for “tweets”, @replies, or to follow someone on the go.

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6 Comments & Questions

Commenter icon key: Subscriber Verified

So come on, Reynolds... what have you got? An "exclusive" deal with Bebo? Music rental? Sky TV? Facebook?

Content is king.

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There are services that popped up when Twitter pulled the plug on their International SMS - like twitsms.com.au - and they only cost about $0.18 to receive a tweet. Does it cost more to send an SMS to the international twitter number than it does to send to the shortcode?

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Telecom NZ also announced today that they would be offering the same solution.

Also, it is currently not possible to receive tweets directly from Twitter via SMS in New Zealand. It is possible to send tweets at normal international SMS rates (usually 20c).


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I don't see the big issue - I use Tweetie on my iPhone which is amazing - it uses my data which is a lot cheaper than an SMS.

Twitter is still pretty early adopter and mainly for people who are in business or marketing (at the moment).

I believe the people who use twitter will likely invest in phones that will be able to run the applications that will be able to use the 3G instead of SMS.

Still pretty cool that Voda got the Twitter deal, they seem to be far more onto the social media side of things.

James Stewart
The New Intelligence

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It won't be long before everyone is online with 3G web access to their mobiles.

I think within a couple of years everyone will be using iPhone/ Blackberry style phones and SMS will be a thing of the past.

The best thing Vodafone did was get in on the iPhone deal early. But good on them for keeping involved with the cutting edge and recognizing the significance of twitter.


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Chris, its NOT an exclusive deal. Please fix the headline ASAP. Cheers

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