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Vodafone is to allow customers to send messages to their mates direct from their Facebook page, at a cost of only ten pence per message.

The service is a Facebook application snappily entitled "Vodafone Connect to Friends", and is currently only a trial to see if people want to pay for sending messages to their chums. Text messages are charged at a blanket ten pence, while picture messages will cost 30p. These won't come out of tariff bundles but will remain the same regardless of where the user is logged in from, which is nice.

Mobile networks have increasingly seen social networking muscle in on their territory - Facebook Mobile already allows punters to message each other, and the service has a dedicated iPhone application too - so it makes sense for them to try integrating their services in return.

Most network operators offer some ability to send text and multimedia messages through their website, though these have never proved very popular and are generally hidden deep with hard-to-navigate interfaces - in part to prevent fraudulent use.

Putting a nice interface into Facebook might work for Vodafone, but they'll need to integrate the application with existing bundles so users can make use of their allowances when sending urgent missives to their contacts. ®

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