Instant Messenger Deal Announced At 3GSM

A consortium of 15 of the worlds biggest mobile carriers announced a deal for an interoperable Instant Messenger solution at the 3GSM show in Barcelona. The carriers, which include China Mobile, Orange, Telefonica, Voda, T-Mobile, and many more, call their solution “Personal IM” because they say the IM needs to match the nature of the phone, which is personal (unlike your PC IM identity, which you let your cousin use??) The IM service will follow certain GSM approaches, like standards-based approaches, interop, and importantly, calling party pays. Yes, pays. From companies who see this as a combination of SMS and presence, you didn’t think they would offer IM without payment, did you? Despite concerns about the possible high cost of an IM session, we think this approach by the carriers is a good strategic choice, offering them the greatest chance of staving off a full-frontal attack by portal players like Yahoo, Google, and AOL, but also OS players like Microsoft. Yahoo has been the wolf in sheep’s clothing, edging their way onto carrier’s decks with IM services, which are good for the consumer (so we like them) but are a notable threat to the carrier’s “ownership” of communications services launched from the phone they provided. We hope that carriers approach this service in a fair manner, that is: reasonable prices, good clients, and widespread interoperability. We also note that they can augment the services by interconnecting with the existing popular PC IM clients. With the money they charge for messages, they will be able to put an offer on the table that the IM providers are likely to accept.

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