Sprint customers get next-gen MySpace Mobile first

With its subscriber base declining, Sprint surely needs a lift in its heated competitive struggle with AT&T and Verizon Wireless. Could a newly unveiled deal with MySpace Mobile help do the job?

Sprint today announced that its wireless data customers will be able to link to MySpace and Fox Interactive Media (FIM) mobile Web sites free of charge, signifying the latest agreements in an ongoing duel of one-off deals between US wireless carriers and Web sites for Internet access from cell phones.

Sprint's customers will be accessing a new advertising-supported MySpace Mobile Web site -- featuring richer graphics and a revamped e-mail interface -- which is slated to leave beta and enter official launch status some time in early 2008.

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Sprint customers will click from the Sprint mobile portal directly to MySpace Mobile, meaning that they won't have to type in the MySpace URL, a relatively cumbersome experience from cell phone handsets as opposed to PC keyboards.

In addition, through a long-standing relationship between MySpace and Fox, Sprint data customers will get direct links to the following FIM Web sites: IGN, AskMen, FoxSports.com on MSN, RottenTomatoes, and Fox's network of local affiliates.

The relationship between MySpace and Sprint isn't exactly new, either. A current generation of MySpace Mobile alerts and applications is already running on Sprint phones.

Meanwhile, though, MySpace also been partnering with other US carriers around its mobile offerings, including major Sprint rival AT&T Wireless.

Late last year, for example, MySpace forged a pact with AT&T's predecessor Cingular to let members view profiles, add friends, and post blogs and photos. But Cingular subscribers had to pay $2.99 a month for the privilege.

As Sprint keeps sliding in its customer satisfaction ratings and subscribership versus both AT&T and Verizon Wireless, the carrier looks likely to get some degree of competitive boost out its deal around the next gen MySpace Mobile site.

At the same time, the new MySpace Mobile site should help to bolster MySpace, whose social networking competitor Facebook recently introduced a version of its own site specifically for Apple's iPhone.

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