Airtel to Launch tweetSMS, 4 week exclusive deal with Twitter [Updated]

Airtel has signed an exclusive partnership deal with Twitter enabling Airtel users to get Twitter SMS updates on one’s mobile.

Airtel will launch tweetSMS, a third-party application (do you really need an app?) that will enable you to receive Twitter SMS updates (charged at Re 1/) directly to one’s phone (on 53000 short code).

An Airtel subscriber simply has to SMS Signup to short code 53000 at a cost of Re 1, follow the instructions to complete the registration process and start Tweeting. For the price of a single SMS charged at Re 1, the Tweet that you post goes out to the entire community of listed Tweeters on the Airtel network.-source

The italicized text throws an interesting question – will my twitter updates be broadcasted to only those followers who are on Airtel network? If that’s the case, Twitter must have committed a harakiri by allowing operator to filter out one’s social network.

Earlier, Twitter stopped SMS service in India (and few other countries) owing to outbound SMS cost (read Twitter blog entry) and this could be a foot-in-the-door strategy?

An exclusive deal can potentially harm Twitter in the long run (though the term of this exclusive deal is not revealed in the news), though it will benefit Airtel and help it connect to the youth.

Update: Thanks to Kgenextreme, here is the related link on Airtel:Twitter partnership : http://airtel.in/twitter

From their FAQ:

There is exclusivity for the same for 4 weeks, in which only Airtel consumers will be able to use the service on SMS across the nation. This period of exclusivity is something that we want to take advantage of and make sure that Brand Airtel can own the property Twitter in consumer mind space.

What is that any consumer needs to be able to use Twitter @ Airtel?

There are 3 types of consumers on Twitter –

  • New User – SMS Signup to 53000
  • Existing User with only a Twitter id but hasn’t yet linked the mobile phone to the Twitter account – SMS Signup to 53000
  • Existing User with a Twitter id and having linked the Mobile number to the id – The consumer will be directly active on the service. There will be nothing that the consumer will have to do.

What’s your opinion on this deal?

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