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Local operators let you tweet via SMS

Du, Zain and STC now offer Twitter SMS services to subscribers

Subscribers can receive Twitter notifications via SMS free of charge.
Subscribers can receive Twitter notifications via SMS free of charge.

Regional mobile operators are recognising the popularity of Twitter in the Middle East and have rolled out Twitter SMS services to subscribers.

Saudi Telecom was the first to launch the service in June. Once signed up, users can receive Twitter notifications via SMS free of charge but each outgoing message costs SR 0.75.  

Zain in Kuwait, who also launched the service last month, charges subscribers 20 fils for each outgoing SMS.  At the time, Basel Manasrah, director of Marketing at Zain lauded the new service, adding that: "...the world breathes the air of data revolution, and it is not reasonable that Zain customers be deprived from the breeze of such digital revolution."

Du is now the latest regional operator to join in, offering the Twitter SMS service to subscribers in the United Arab Emirates. Like Zain and STC, registering for the service and incoming messages are free of charge, with customers only paying standard SMS rates for each outgoing message, i.e., 18 fils per SMS.

Du customers can start using the service by sending "start" via text message to short code 8080, with a full list of commands related to using the service published on Twitter.

"Twitter is becoming a vital platform for individuals as well as companies to communicate with friends, families and customers, and thus we are introducing this new service to enhance customers' experiences by adding mobility to this growing social network. Customers now can follow their friends and send and receive messages conveniently at any time, while on-the-go" said Farid Faraidooni, chief commercial officer at Du.

In their company statement, Zain claimed Twitter has 300,000 subscribers from Kuwait, though Twitter has not officially released any figures related to the Middle East and North Africa region till date.

UAE-based Spot On Public Relations estimated in March that there were 35,000-40,000 registered Twitter users in the region, compared to just 3,000 users for the same month last year.