Twitter, Orange Rock MMS in the U.K.

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2009-11-17

Twitter Nov. 16 said it is bringing text and multimedia tweets to the U.K. with the help of France Telecom-owned Orange UK, allowing users to send pictures to their friends.

Orange UK customers will be able to update their own tweets, send direct messages to other Twitter users and receive alerts on Twitter through SMS text messaging. Users can send picture messages (MMS) thanks to Snapshot, a special Web site that automatically posts the link directly to Twitter in a tweet and allow followers to add comments.

To use this service, users must take a photo with their Orange mobile phone, select 'send via MMS' or 'send multimedia message' and send it to 86444. This is the first time Twitter is enabling MMS with a mobile operator, which is key for attracting more media-hungry mobile phone users.

Twitter alerts will be available free, with upload text messages either included in customers; bundles or charged at the usual rate.

Twitter reminded everyone that it was originally conceived as a text-messaging service Oct. 14 by striking a deal with Bharti Airtel, the largest mobile operator in India. Twitter users in India can send Twitter tweets at standard rates and receive tweets for free.

Twitter followed that up by striking a partnership with AXIS in Indonesia to offer tweets via SMS on the shortcode 89887. At the time, Kevin Thau, director of mobile products and partnerships at Twitter, wrote Nov. 9:

"The ease of composing a text message combined with the "interruptiveness" of getting an alert for an account you follow is a powerful combination. This has always been the aspect of Twitter that excites me most. It's cool to think that a caf??« in Jakarta can write their Twitter username on a chalkboard and tell people to text "follow username" to our shortcode for alerts about the daily special... If your country isn't supported with Twitter SMS, we're working with lots of folks around the globe and it's possible that your network will be up and running soon."

One week later, Twitter struck its latest deal with Orange. But the deal with Orange goes deeper than that, according to the Guardian, which said today that Twitter users will soon be able to tweet to each other via their TV sets while watching football, news, entertainment shows and films.

Twitter will also begin to appear in ad campaigns run by Orange, which said that Twitter services would be rolled out in the UK first, then in France, Spain and Poland later this year.

The notion that Twitter is extending beyond Web-enabled phones and computers to TVs is great news for the microblog service, which like Google, Facebook and other Internet companies is trying to reach as many people as possible.

The service has an estimated 60 million users, compared to Facebook's 300 million-plus members.

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