Yahoo has been building its mobile offerings for years with features that range from messaging services like e-mail and instant messaging to user-friendly shopping and downloading functions. T-Mobile said the service, which debuts this week, is called Web2go.
In addition to Web surfing capabilities, Web2go features Yahoo's OneSearch, a customizable home page, as well as the capability to purchase ring tones, games, and wallpaper.
T-Mobile USA, the fourth-largest U.S. mobile phone service provider, said the Yahoo service will be available on most of its new phones, including handsets made by Motorola, Nokia, Research In Motion, Samsung, and Sony Ericsson.
"We believe mobile Web access appeals to everyone, and Web2go makes it easier than ever for customers to surf the Web," said Denny Marie Post, T-Mobile's chief marketing officer, in a statement. "Web2go provides a storefront that will continue to grow with our customers, offering a range of products from the latest content to new innovative applications."
The deal is the latest major development in mobile search as Yahoo, Google, Microsoft, and some smaller companies jockey for position as mobile search begins to take off. Earlier this month, T-Mobile unveiled its G1 phone, an HTC handset based on Google's Android platform complete with Google search capability.
Thursday's move to install Yahoo's mobile search technology on most T-Mobile phones had something of a precedent earlier this year in Europe when T-Mobile USA's parent company, Deutsche Telekom, replaced Google on many of its mobile phones in favor of Yahoo's mobile search function.
Microsoft has also been intensifying its mobile search efforts. The company has put a full-court press complete with attractive incentives on Verizon Wireless to attempt to sign up the service provider for its mobile features.
At stake is the nascent phenomenon of surfing the Web on mobile phones, a practice still in its infancy as more sophisticated smartphone models hit the market almost daily and as wireless infrastructure becomes more robust. A recent ComScore M-Metrics survey found that less than 8% of cell phone users have used a mobile phone to surf the Web. The statistic shows that mobile phone Internet surfing is in its infancy.