Irish Twitter users now can use their SMS

8 May 2009

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The real advantages of the Twitter phenomenon have been denied to Irish users because of punitive international SMS charges. But the problem has apparently been fixed, thanks to the efforts of a self-described nerd, whose lost weekend antics have struck gold.

The real value-add of Twitter has been the ability to get tweets by SMS, but high international SMS charges have meant the phenomenon has been denied to most Irish users, who usually converse over the medium via the internet or by iPhone apps.

However, self-described nerd and entrepreneur James Kennedy has said he has come up with a solution via his Agtweet service, which aims to give Irish-based Twitterers an affordable option.

“There are approximately 600 people who are updating their account by sending text messages to the UK, incurring international SMS charges,” he said.

Computer programmer Kennedy’s service allows Irish Twitters to set up Irish numbers, which now lets them update their account by text message, often for free.

“I was a little baffled by the whole Twitter phenomenon, so in an effort to understand it better, I put together the service over a spare weekend.”

Kennedy said he has no definite plan to make money from the service right now, just as Twitter itself is famously bereft of a revenue stream and has shrugged off acquisition attempts from major players from Facebook to Google and, reportedly, Apple.

“I’m happy for people to use it and maybe get picked up by a sponsor at some stage. At the least it provides some content for my blog at jameskennedy.ie.”

There are 80 people using Kennedy’s service right now, from school kids to technology experts.

Users can update their account using a smart phone such as an iPhone, but if you have a more basic model, then this service is a handy way to keep the internet up to speed with your activities.

There are two numbers available, Kennedy said. “I started off with a 087 number, but soon I was getting requests for an 085 number too. This allows many people to text for free to the service as part of a call plan or service agreement.”

By John Kennedy

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Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com