S. Korea’s KT Freetel to offer MSN Mobile services

Microsoft Corp. is teaming with South Korea’s leading mobile communications provider, Korea Telecom Freetel, to offer its MSN Mobile Services on advanced KT Freetel handsets.

The deal, announced Tuesday, offers users the ability to send and receive instant messages, synchronize contact lists, and save short phrases for quick messaging as part of MSN’s Mobile offerings. The Mobile services are “always-on,” allowing customers to be reached by their MSN Messenger contacts without needing to maintain a network session.

The companies will jointly market the services, which will come at an undisclosed subscription fee.

Additionally, KT Freetel will be initially offering MSN’s free Messenger Service on an upcoming line of wireless Internet standard platform (WIPI) handsets.

The deal serves to extend MSN’s global reach to KT Freetel’s 11 million subscribers in South Korea and allows the telecom company to broaden its revenue stream.

Consumers are demanding globally integrated data experiences, KT Freetel Executive Vice President Joo Young Song said in a statement. With the deal, KT Freetel can offer a solid bet for consumers in South Korea, he added.

MSN currently has 9 million subscribers worldwide, with local versions of its service in 34 markets and 18 languages. KT Freetel, founded in 1996, began offering nationwide wireless services in South Korea in 1997.