11:28 AM

Sprint To Offer Charge-Free Access To MySpace Mobile

Sprint subscribers won't have to type a URL address in browsers on their mobile phones to enter the social networking site, making the process a lot faster and more user-friendly.

Popular social-network site MySpace this week said Sprint will become the first U.S. wireless carrier to offer charge-free access to MySpace Mobile when it launches early next year.

MySpace Mobile will be accessible by Sprint subscribers with data plans through the carrier's portal. As such, subscribers won't have to type a URL address in browsers on their mobile phones to enter the social networking site, making the process a lot faster and more user-friendly.

The mobile site is currently in beta, but once it's launched it will feature a rich graphical design, an improved e-mail interface, and additional features, according to MySpace.

"We're also in the process of redesigning the mobile site to provide an updated look and feel and enhanced functionality," said Amit Kapur, VP of business development for MySpace, in a statement.

Additionally, Sprint is giving subscribers the ability to link to other mobile Web sites from Fox Interactive Media, including IGN, on MSN, RottenTomatoes, AskMen, and Photobucket.

It's becoming clear that mobile users want to do a lot more with their devices than use them for making calls and for messaging.

Younger users, for example, want social networking on the go, since the whole point of such communities is to stay connected with friends. They also want to receive presence information when friends are nearby, as well as access multimedia such as music and messaging on online profiles, according to a report by networking equipment provider Nortel and consulting firm CSMG Adventis.

Bango, a provider of mobile Web technology, last month launched a service that allows people to push digital content to their mobile phones from social networking sites, forums, and blogs. The "Get On My Mobile" Bango Button, as the company calls it, allows people to send photos and music files, in addition to other content, from PC-based Web sites to mobile phones. The service links to content stored on Facebook or MySpace and optimizes it for different mobile phones.

But this isn't the first instance of Sprint embracing social networking. The carrier provides access to popular sites such as Facebook and Xanga on its power Vision network and on the latest devices such as the Rumor by LG Electronics.

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