Bharti Airtel, India's largest telecom service provider will launch tweetSMS, a third-party application that allows SMS updates to be received directly to one's phone, The Times of India reported today.
The move comes in the wake of the huge surge in Twitter traffic in India which recently became the third largest market for Twitter in just a few months. The Indian Twitter subscriber base stands at 5 million out of a total of over 11.5 million.
Atul Bindal, president – mobile services, Bharti Airel, told the paper that India would likely become the largest market for Twitter very soon and the service should be a huge catalyst for this.
In 2008, Twitter discontinued sending free SMS updates to users and teamed up with mobile phone companies across the world to get Twitter SMS updates on mobile phones. In India Bharti Airtel has an exclusive arrangement with Twitter to offer the service for an undisclosed period of time.
To start Tweeting an Airtel subscriber need only SMS Signup to short code 53,000 at a cost of Re1, follow the instructions to complete the registration process and start Tweeting.
With the service, users can stay in touch with a large community of Tweeters without an internet connection on their mobile. For the price of a single SMS charged at Re1, the posted Tweet is transmitted to the entire community of listed Tweeters on the Airtel network.
According to Bindal, the move is more a consumer-connect initiative to retain high-end users and draw more users from the youth segment onto the companys' network.
Bindal told The Times of India that over 50 per cent of Airtel's 110 million subscribers use the SMS service and now they can all Tweet. For the price of a single SMS they can now connect to a huge Tweeter community, he added.