Hotmail goes mobile in India

Microsoft strikes deal with Indian cell firms to deliver Hotmail and MSN Messenger over SMS.

CNET News staff
Microsoft on Thursday signed deals with two Indian cell phone companies to deliver e-mail and instant messages via SMS.

BPL Mobile, owned by Indian electronics maker BPL, offers cell phone services in five Southern and Western Indian states, and has around 2.4 million subscribers. Airtel, which has a presence in 20 Indian states, has around 9.5 million subscribers.

The companies, together with mobile data services firm Mobile 365, on Thursday launched two new services-?Mobile-mail and MSN Messenger over SMS. However, they did not say whether the service will carry a fee or be offered for free.MSN already has similar partnerships with mobile phone firms in several Asian markets such as Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Using Mobile-mail, Hotmail users among BPL subscribers will have the option to receive and reply to e-mail sent to their accounts by SMS on their mobile phones.

Similarly, the MSN Messenger over SMS service is a two-way text messaging system that lets users communicate with MSN Messenger buddies via a mobile phone that supports the SMS (short message service) technology.

MSN is not the first to launch such an initiative in India. Yahoo already has similar arrangements with cell phone companies serving India, including Orange, Hutch and Airtel.