If you prefer tweets over status updates and your tweets are frequent, then there is some excellent news for you. Airtel is slated to launch a free service, which will allow you to access your Twitter account on your mobile phone. 1st March, 2012 is the date when this service will go live. We had earlier announced on WATBlog that such a move is on the anvil.
A debate has been raging in India, among experts, regarding the exact number of active internet users in the country. One fact that all agree with is that mobile internet is growing rapidly in India and it has the potential to become the primary internet access point for the majority of Indians. Also, smartphone penetration is extremely low in the country and most of the over 850 million connections are active on basic feature phones. These ground realities further highlight why Airtel’s latest move is a step in the right direction. Come March and over 170 million Airtel subscribers will enjoy free access to Twitter. They can either log in to mobile.twitter.com (If they are using a phone with data plans) or utilize the SMS shortcode 53000 to access Twitter, send tweets, receive tweets and follow specific users as well.
Creating a new Twitter account through SMS will be a very simple process.
Step 1: SMS ‘START’ to 53000
Step 2: After receiving reply, SMS ‘SIGNUP’ to 53000
Step 3: On receiving reply, SMS ‘a unique username’ (less than 15 characters) to 53000
Step 4: If your username is approved, SMS ‘your chosen password’ to 53000
Step 5: Your Twitter account is ready. Sign in to start sending tweets!
Twitter, with about 200 million users, is no where near Facebook’s over 800 million users, but Twitter’s popularity is slowly growing. Photo-sharing on Twitter has gained a lot in popularity, largely due to several celebrities being part of it. Facebook has understood the importance of the mobile platform and has plans in place to become an integral part of our mobile experience, through services like Facebook Zero. Twitter also seems to have realized this and placed some importance on it. It is also clear that Twitter is banking on the Indian market to grow globally. Recently, Twitter announced that soon there will be support for 17 local Indian languages on the microblogging site, including Hindi.
Can these moves help Twitter gain in popularity? Will Indians take to Twitter the same way as Facebook?