Verizon launches AOL Instant Messenger


Verizon Wireless has announced the availability of AOL’s Insant Messenger (AIM) application on its network. Subscribers equipped with handsets supporting text messaging can use the service to remain logged-in to their AIM account on the move.

Pre-pay customers are billed USD 0.02 for each message received and USD 0.10 for sending messages. Contract subscribers can choose from a number of messaging packages, starting at USD 2.99 for 100 messages per month. The launch of AIM is part of a wider agreement between AOL and Verizon to offer mobile services.

John Stratton, Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for Verizon Wireless said, “We have announced a series of products and services this year that allow our customers to stay connected via their wireless phone – as well as stay informed and entertained – while enjoying a mobile lifestyle. The AIM service is a great addition to our line-up. Wireless instant messaging continues to grow in popularity, and we are excited to offer our customers this capability.”

Lex Felker, Senior Vice President of AOL Anywhere for America Online said, “Verizon Wireless is a valued partner in extending our AOL Anywhere strategy, which allows our members to break free from their PC and access AOL’s features anywhere and at anytime. For millions of consumers, instant messaging is a vital tool for staying connected and now, with the AIM service for wireless phones, Verizon Wireless customers can stay in greater touch even while they’re on the go.”

Insight

Instant messaging (IM) has much greater penetration in the US than it does in Western Europe or Far Eastern markets. The integration of IM with wireless text messaging could be as important for the growth of SMS in the US as the recent inter-connect agreements between operators.

Microsoft and Yahoo, operators of the other major IM networks, are also pushing for agreements with network operators. The IM networks are in a relatively strong position, as their services will almost certainly provide immediate revenue growth. This will be all the more pronounced in a market such as the US where SMS is in its infancy.

Savvy operators would do well to explore the growing range of open IM products available from vendors such as Hotsip. Subscribers will be much more likely to make wide use of an integrated messaging solution which enables them to communicate with all their contacts, not just those on a specific IM network.


Originally published by PMN Mobile Industry Intelligence, the subscription-based analysis and insight platform founded by Marek Pawlowski.
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