News Corp Launches Free MySpace Mobile

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Fox Interactive Media has announced announced it a new free, ad-supported version of MySpace for users of mobile phones and other portable devices. A beta version of the service will debut this week, with a wider rollout expected over the coming months. Unlike existing MySpace mobile solutions available from AT&T and Helio, this version of MySpace is completely free to mobile users—however, they will have to put up with advertising.

"Accessing the Internet from a mobile phone will soon be as common as text messaging and voice calling, and it’s FIM’s goal to deliver these new free, ad-supported experiences as additional options for our users on top of our incredibly popular premium mobile services," said John Smelzer, Fox Interactive Media senior VP, in a release.

Using the new mobile service, MySpace users will be able to send and receive instant messages and friend requests, send comments, post bulletins, update their blogs, and search for friends. They’ll also be able to update their "mood status." The AT&T and Helio MySpace clients will continue to offer a broader range of features, including the ability to post photos.

Fox has partnered with Millennial Media to both sell and service mobile advertising on the free mobile MySpace site. Ads will include promotions for other Fox properties like FOXSports, IGN, and, along with charter sponsorships over the next several months. By the time the mobile service gets out of beta, Fox expects to open all advertising inventory on the service.

A free, carrier-independent, ad-supported MySpace client is a quick way for MySpace to gain a foothold on the millions of mobile devices tech-savvy users are increasingly integrating into their lives. It may also give the social networking site the flexibility to quickly support new devices—like the iPhone and iPod touch—as they come on the market, without having to first make deals with handset makers or mobile networks.