Application Allows Customers To Plan Events with Friends and Stay Connected Through ‘Reply-All Text Messaging’
Virgin Mobile USA, with more than 4.8 million customers, announced the next innovation in one of the world’s most popular mobile services, text messaging, with the launch of 3jam SMS 2.0. The new, free-to-join service debuts today and improves basic text messaging by allowing friends and family to stay connected with group communication, enabling customers to have multi-party text-message conversations. The launch marks the first time a U.S. carrier is introducing multi-party text messaging, thanks to a partnership with San Francisco-based SMS services firm 3jam.
“At Virgin Mobile, we’re dedicated to delivering services that fit our customer base, and this new dimension for texting is certainly an ideal one for our customers who want the simplicity and power of group texting,” said Dominick Tolli, vice president, Mobile Data Services, Virgin Mobile USA.
How it works
3jam SMS 2.0 enables Virgin Mobile customers to send a text message to any number of friends simultaneously, have everyone know who received the message, and allow subsequent replies to go to everyone using SMS. The 3jam application is free and requires no subscription. Standard text messaging rates apply. Virgin Mobile customers can sign up on the menu of their WAP deck or at http://www.3jam.com/virgin. The SMS recipients do not need to sign up.
“From a business perspective, our goal at 3jam is to help carriers like Virgin Mobile increase revenue from text messaging, and we think that 3jam SMS 2.0 has that potential,” said 3jam Founder and CEO Andy Jagoe.
SMS is by far the most popular non-voice service for mobile subscribers in the U.S., and according to Pamela Clark Dickson of Informa Telecoms and Media, in 2007 it will generate revenues of $60 billion for carriers worldwide. According to Gartner Dataquest, the number of SMS messages will top 1.8 trillion in 2010.
Nick Ingelbrecht, research analyst at Gartner says, “Nobody could have predicted the phenomenal success of SMS, and the race is on to find its successor. Without a doubt, new services are needed, but a clear leader has yet to emerge from the messaging services currently being deployed, such as mobile IM (instant messaging), video messaging, mobile e-mail and unified and integrated messaging.”
Consumers have shown interest in 3jam’s off-deck service, which, since soft launching in September 2006, has gained hundreds of thousands of monthly active users. These users have discovered 3jam.com and have taken their “txt” to the next level. Currently, 3jam is building a global service for transiting, billing and clearing multi-party SMS messages, with many additional features to be available soon. The service has grown virally to date and was recently recognized as one of CNET Webware’s Top 100 Services of 2007.
“Our firm has reviewed dozens of mobile 2.0 services, and 3jam stood out because of their ability to enhance communications in a simple yet effective way. At the heart of mobile devices, people want to communicate better, faster and more simply with their friends and family,” said 3jam investor Tim Chang, partner at Norwest Venture Partners, which, along with New Enterprise Associates, led a four million dollar round of funding for the company in July 2007.
About Virgin Mobile USA, LLC:
The nation’s leading youth wireless provider, Virgin Mobile USA offers more than 4.8 million customers control, flexibility and choice in wireless service, rich data content and innovative products without annual contracts. Voice pricing plans range from monthly options with unlimited nights and weekends to by-the-minute offers, allowing consumers to adjust how and what they pay according to their needs. Virgin Mobile’s full slate of smart, stylish and affordable handsets, including the popular MarbL, Slice and Cyclops, are available at top retailers in more than 35,000 locations nationwide and online at http://www.virginmobileusa.com, with Top-Up cards available at more than 130,000 locations.
Virgin Mobile USA’s national coverage is powered by the nationwide Sprint PCS network. The company, which launched in 2002, is a joint venture between Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and Sprint Nextel. J.D. Power and Associates has ranked Virgin Mobile highest in customer satisfaction among wireless prepaid services for two years in a row, and its own customers regularly report a greater than 90% satisfaction rate. Virgin Mobile contributes 5% of profits from downloadable content to The RE*Generation and provides postage-paid return envelopes in every new package for customers to recycle old phones.
About 3jam, Inc.
3jam, Inc., was founded in 2005 to develop new and better ways to keep people in touch with their friends and family. Available for any mobile phone, the 3jam SMS 2.0 text messaging service makes it fun and easy for people to coordinate and connect. 3jam is funded by New Enterprise Associates and Norwest Venture Partners, with headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. For more information, visit http://www.3jam.com.