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Twitter goes global by putting its service on feature phones

The social network pushes further into Eastern Europe, Asia, South America, and the Middle East as IPO chatter increases.

Dara Kerr Former senior reporter
Dara Kerr was a senior reporter for CNET covering the on-demand economy and tech culture. She grew up in Colorado, went to school in New York City and can never remember how to pronounce gif.
Dara Kerr
2 min read

Twitter has been pushing into the international market by making its service available on feature phones, according to Bloomberg.

The move comes as users in the U.S. are topping off and the microblogging service has to expand its boundaries in search of new members.

One of the ways Twitter is gaining new users is by partnering with wireless carriers in different countries that let people tweet on feature phones for free or for the cost of a text message. For example, the social network is now working with Turkish carrier Turkcell, according to Bloomberg. The partnership lets users tweet with a more simple version of Twitter and also gets them to spend more time on their phones.

"We need to deliver a more compelling product for low-end devices," Twitter CEO Dick Costolo told Bloomberg.

Since the social network partnered with Turkcell, Twitter mobile users in Turkey have increased by threefold, according to Bloomberg. These new users have also increased revenue for the company by clicking on photos and links within tweets.

Besides Eastern Europe, the social network is also expanding in Asia, South America, and the Middle East, where many mobile users don't yet own smartphones. According to Bloomberg, Twitter has now partnered with around 250 operators in more than 100 countries.

Even though Costolo has said in the past that the company is far from going public, it seems that Twitter is preparing itself for an inevitable IPO. A June 2012 report said Twitter is expected to hit $1 billion in revenue by 2014 and another report earlier this month pegged the company's value at $11 billion. When the social network does go public it will want to have as many users as possible in order to generate maximum advertising revenue.