Launches Free Europe-Wide SMS Text Messaging

[London, ENGLAND] U.K. Web site has announced
a free, no-strings-attached service for sending SMS text
messages to mobile phones across Europe.

The new service, launched this week, enables users to
send text messages from the Web to any GSM mobile phone
in Europe, without even the need to register or subscribe
to the service. is the brainchild of entrepreneur Shakil Khan,
who believes there is a big future in tapping the youth
market for mobile messaging.

“SMS text messaging has become hugely popular with the
15-24 age group, thanks to the pay-as-you-go phone
revolution — people like students, those starting out
in their first jobs and so on,” said Shakil Khan.

“In the same way that pay as you go phones have
democratized mobile usage, we’re democratizing Web-to-SMS
messaging services by making them available to anyone
in Europe, free of charge,” he said.

Like many successful technologies, including the Internet
itself, SMS (short message service) has surprised the
telcos with explosive growth. In August 2000, 560 million
messages were sent in the U.K., a tenfold increase over
the previous year.

Italians and Germans are even more enthusiastic about SMS.
In Italy, they send over a billion messages per month and
in Germany, over 1.5 billion per month.

“SMS messaging has a far greater reach than WAP right now
and is likely to remain in the lead for years to come,
especially with young, non-corporate users,” said
Shakil Khan.

One curious statistic has emerged from the growth of
mobile phone ownership in the U.K. With seventy percent
of 15-year-olds now owning a mobile, it appears that this
phenomenon is somehow linked to a decline in smoking
among teenagers. But why? believes mobile phones are a “rebel token”
— replacing cigarettes as an expression of rebellion.
Or could it be simply that you can’t hold a cigarette
and send all those SMS messages at the same time?

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