Sprint and AOL in instant-messaging deal

America Online Inc. has a deal with Sprint PCS Group to provide its Instant Messenger service for Internet-ready mobile phones. Similar to the regular Internet version of AOL Instant Messenger (AIM), the wireless service will allow customers to deliver short text messages to personal contacts, according to the joint release.

The service also includes the “buddy list” feature, letting users know when other people are online. A quick-reply feature will allow users to send generic messages such as “Hello” or “Where are you?”

No special software will be required for Sprint PCS users with Internet-ready phones because the phones have compatible browsers built in, the companies said. There will be no extra service charge for AIM while accessing the wireless Web with Sprint, but users are still responsible for airtime charges.