A unified SMS (short messaging service) launched today by mobile carriers, Telstra, Cable & Wireless Optus and Vodafone is not the first service of its kind, claims Blue Sky Frog.com.
The GSM carriers, who have developed an intercarrier platform, claim mobile users have only been able to send SMS messages to other handsets on the same GSM network until now.
Elena Pasquini, Blue Sky frog.com, manager alliance partners said however, Blue Sky Frog.com has been providing a unified service since December last year.
According to Pasquini, by accessing affiliated website SMSmebaby.com, users are able to send SMS and email messages to any other mobile phone in Australia or to any email address. Additionally, customers can receive services including weather updates and closing stock quotes.
Smsmebaby.com acts as an intermediary between Telstra, CWO and Vodafone and the Internet.
Blue Sky Frog.com service currently has 55,000 users and is growing by 5 per cent per day, Pasquini said.
Meanwhile, Telstra, CWO and Vodafone said the development of the intercarrier SMS platform follows "months" of collaboration. The SMS limit of 160 characters per message will remain unchanged, the telcos said.
The user who sends the message is charged for the service, although Optus said it will not charge for the service until 1 June 2000. After this time, SMS charges will be 20 cents per message, Optus said.
The service will not be available to CDMA or analogue mobile customers. However, the companies said most handsets bought in the last five years are capable of sending SMS.