Vodafone friends Facebook
Matey messaging service, 10p upwards
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. ®
Free with O2
If you have an O2 phone, then facebook will send you text alerts for FREE. So if someone writes on your wall or adds you as a friend etc, then you'll get a text from facebook (usually arrives quicker than the FB email alert too). Costs you nothing. Inifinitly cheaper than Vodaphone! Doesn't sound so wonderful now does it!
You can even reply to these messages and that does come out of your monthly allowance.
Why do this at all?
when you can go to FB via your phones browser and write on their wall for nothing (OK, so I get "free" data access on my contract, so "free" for me).
I pay 3p per text from my phone. Which is already outrageous considering it represents about 0.1seconds of voice traffic data (would you be happy paying £1.80 a minute?) and can be queued.
On the face of it, 10p might sound reasonable compared to the scandalous roaming prices though. However, O2 let you use your bundled SMS allowance when roaming (at a premium) and it surely can't be long before this piracy is legislated into the history books.