Vodafone offers MySpace on the move

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Vodafone, the UK-based mobile phone company, on Wednesday unveiled a deal with News Corp’s MySpace to offer access to the popular social networking site via mobile phone.

The exclusive deal will allow Vodafone to boost usage of its mobile internet services, and will help US-based MySpace reach the European mobile market.

MySpace, which was bought by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp for $580m in 2005, is hoping a host of new European-language offerings, as well as mobile and video services, will help expand its user base, which has levelled off at roughly 80m unique visitors a month.

The service will be initially launched in the UK before June, and will then roll out across Europe.

Vodafone customers will be able to use their mobile phones to edit their MySpace profiles, find and add friends, post photos and blogs and send and receive messages on the move.

The service will come pre-loaded on certain handsets or can be downloaded through the Vodafone live! internet service.

The companies did not reveal how much the service would cost. However, in the US, where MySpace signed a similar deal in December with Cingular Wireless, users pay a flat fee of $2.99 (£1.50) a month.

A number of other mobile networking sites are also planning to offer mobile access. Bebo has highlighted this as a priority, while YouTube, the internet video sharing site bought last year by Google for $1.65bn, signed a deal in November to distribute some of its content over Verizon Wireless mobile phones.

Mobango, an Italian-based social networking site, has already made mobile access to its services a key feature.

Vodafone shares were 2p higher at 151p in afternoon London trading.

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