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Freeserve deal lets SMS Genie out of the bottle

Updated: links to free SMS providers

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Freeserve is taking SMS (short message services) to the masses with a deal which sees its customers able to receive emails on their mobile phone. Or the first 140 characters of each email, to be more precise. The company, Britain's biggest ISP, is teaming up with Genie, a mobile phone ISP/portal and BT Cellnet to deliver the service. Genie will supply the technology, while Freeserve will supply content and customers. No money is changing hands between the two bedfellows, but it looks like Freeserve will be NotFreeserve with this service. According to The Guardian, this is "likely to be offered on a monthly subscription basis with customers billed direct to their credit cards". The Freeserve/BT Cellnet tie-in looks a good deal all around, delivering a huge boost for SMS services in the UK. But is it really worth a 30 per cent jump in Freeserve's sh ares, up 82.5p yesterday on the news? Freeserve is now valued at £3.7 billion, 160 per cent more than its July issue price. It won't take too long for other providers -- mobile phone companies and mass-market ISPs -- to get in on the SMS act. And it won't take too long after that for some foolhardy soul to offer email by mobile phone for free. ® Locust also lets you email by phone too. And it's cheap, too. Free services include www.one2one.net, Excell andGenie! Can The Guardian be right about the monthly Freeserve SMS subscription? As reader Mike Bisson writes "people are getting a bum deal if Freeserve is planning to make a charge". Quite. Feel like recommending any more SMS services? Post your comments on The Register Forum.

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