Twitter is returning to its SMS roots for mobile blogging – the company has teamed up with startup U2opia to create a phone-accessible feed of localized tweets. The service is set to target emerging markets in areas like Africa and South America where 8 in 10 users do not have data connections on their phone.
In an interview with Reuters, U2opia’s Co-founder Sumesh Menon said, ” For a lot of end users in the emerging markets, it’s going to be their first Twitter experience.” U2opia transmits Twitter feeds using USSD, or Unstructed Supplementary Service Data. It doesn’t allow users to see images or other graphics, but is otherwise perfect for the micro-blog.
Currently, U2opia’s streaming product, Fonetwish, serves 11 million users in 30 countries and 7 languages. Where available, users can dial *325# from a mobile phone to access the subscription service for Facebook or Google Talk. The dialing connection gives text-based access with a Facebook username and password. Similar to Twitter, the Fonetwish for Facebook has a character limit of 140. Theoretically, the new Twitter service would work the same way.