Microsoft and 3 Group, the leading global player in the 3G arena, today announced plans to deliver seamless access to Microsoft's communication services, MSN Messenger and MSN Hotmail, through the 3 portal and installed software clients on 3G handsets. These services will provide millions of customers with different ways to stay in touch using their 3G mobile phone.
This agreement enables 3 to offer access to MSN Hotmail and MSN Messenger from a browser or by a downloaded and pre-installed software client. As part of the agreement, all services offered will bring the familiar look and feel of MSN Messenger and MSN Hotmail on a PC, to a 3 mobile - providing customers with a convenient way to stay in-touch on the move using an experience with which they are already accustomed. By connecting MSN and 3 customers, both companies expect more frequent interaction between mobile-to-mobile, and PC-to-mobile customers.
The agreement brings together a community of millions of MSN Hotmail and MSN Messenger users and 3 customers worldwide. MSN Hotmail is one of the world's largest web-based e-mail services, with 230 million active e-mail accounts and MSN Messenger, the world's most used free instant messaging service, has 205 million customers worldwide. Initially, the services will be available to over five million customers of 3 in the UK, Republic of Ireland, Hong Kong, Sweden, Denmark, Austria and Australia (via ninemsn) with plans to expand the service to other 3 markets.
MSN Messenger, provided as a rich instant messenger mobile software client, will allow 3 customers to see the "presence" of their Messenger contacts and exchange messages when these contacts are on their PC or on the move with a 3 mobile. The client version provides a rich feature set that provides the user with an always available Messenger experience.
In addition, the 3 group of companies will allow access to MSN Hotmail through the 3 portal, allowing 3's customers to use their existing MSN username and password on their 3 mobile. The MSN Hotmail experience on a 3 mobile will enable customers to perform their normal e-mail functions such as read, send and delete e-mails as well as get an 'at a glance' inbox view.
Later this year, 3 will also be able to offer access to Windows Live Messenger and Windows Live Mail, two of the exciting next generation software services from Microsoft that puts the user in control and connects them to the people and information that matter most.
"This is an exciting time for Microsoft and Hutchison. Together we are offering, for the first time, mobile software clients on a broad range of handsets to a vast customer base in Europe," said Geoff Sutton, Regional General Manager for MSN EMEA. "By way of this agreement, we are expanding our customers' ability to make smart communication choices to connect instantly to the people they care about most." Christian Salbaing, Managing Director at Hutchison Europe Telecommunications commented: "3 is committed to providing its customers with the widest choice of communications access platforms. We believe our 12 million 3G customers will be delighted to be able to use MSN Hotmail and MSN Messenger on our 3G networks. Communications environments and platforms are converging and it is our job to give customers more choice to communicate with each other. 3 is delighted to be working with Microsoft to make this happen."