RealTime IT News

Sprint Gets a Piece of Mobile MySpace Action

Sprint Nextel has won the first leg of what could be a long race in the mobile space. The company will be the first U.S. wireless carrier to provide free access to the MySpace mobile Web site when it officially launches early next year.

Sprint subscribers with a data plan will be able to directly connect to the MySpace Mobile Web site through Sprint's mobile home page, without having to type in a URL, they said in a joint announcement.

In advance of the official launch, MySpace is redesigning its mobile site to improve the graphical quality and e-mail interface. MySpace, the biggest social network, reports that more than 1 million unique visitors have come to the mobile site since its beta launch in September.

The partnership with MySpace, which is owned by News Corp., will also open other Fox Interactive Media (FIM) content to Sprint customers. Data subscribers will have one-click access to FOXSports.com, IGN and the recently acquired Photobucket, as well as content from local MyFOX affiliates.

FIM launched in September, and struck partnerships with Sprint and other carriers to offer free, ad-supported mobile versions of many of its Web sites.

The free, ad-supported version of Mobile MySpace follows earlier ventures the social network had made into the mobile arena, such as the deal it struck with Cingular last December to allow members to view their profiles, add friends and post photos and blogs for $2.99 a month.

The announcement comes as Fox, like every other media company, is looking to expand its mobile offerings through partnerships with wireless carriers. Sprint has distributed Fox's mobile content since 2002, when the two companies struck a syndication deal for FOXSports.com.