September 27, 2007 We are all familiar with the convenience of the “reply all” function when using email to enable us to have group discussions. Virgin Mobile USA has adapted the same principal to TXT to enable phone users to stay in touch with groups of friends.
The 3jam “SMS 2.0” service allows customers to plan events with friends and stay connected through reply all text messaging. The new service is free to join for Virgin’s 4.8 million plus customers and improves basic text messaging by allowing customers to have multi-party text message conversations. This is the first time a U.S. cell phone carrier has introduced multi-party text messaging.
By partnering with San Francisco-based SMS services firm 3jam, Virgin Mobile customers can now send a text message to a number of friends simultaneously, have everyone know who received the message and allow subsequent replies to go to everyone using SMS. The 3jam application is free but standard text messaging rates apply. Those only wishing to receive group texts but not reply don’t need to sign up for the service.
Although this service has been offered by email for years which is of course free from any charges (aside from your ISP bill), the service for cell phones does have a practical application since consumers generally have access to their phone for more hours of the day than they do their PC.
This product seems likely to be a hit considering that SMS is by far the most popular non-voice service for mobile subscribers in the U.S. It is predicted that in 2007 SMS will generate revenues of $60 billion for carriers worldwide and, according to Gartner Dataquest, the number of SMS messages sent to others will top 1.8 trillion in 2010…nw dats heaps of txt msgs [ie.: now that is a lot of text messages].