Verisign will host Openwave's mobile instant messaging product and function as an outsourcing partner for mobile operators.
Openwave and Verisign will also work together to facilitate messaging between different US operator networks, using Verisign's intercarrier messaging service, and sell Openwave's Mobile Messaging Gateway to operators, said Danny Winokur, director of strategic alliances for Openwave.
The Openwave mobile instant messaging product turns a mobile phone into an instant-messaging client. It either SMS, which offers limited functionality, or WAP, offering near-PC instant messaging functionality, Openwave said.
The hosted service for operators should be available by mid-July and will likely be charged on a per month, per subscriber basis, according to Winokur, who added that operators can also opt to install the Openwave software on their own network.
"We expect that top-tier operators will, ultimately, want to have it [mobile instant messaging software] sit on their own network. However, right now there are operators with a time to market urgency and operating in a capital constrained environment. Outsourcing is attractive as a bridge to get them to where it makes sense to offer it [mobile instant messaging] on their own," said Winokur.
Text messaging has become one of the main revenue generators for mobile phone operators, especially in Europe and Asia. Profit margins on text-message transmissions are high and users cannot seem to get enough of text messaging. So far, technological barriers have inhabited the growth of SMS in North America..
New forms of messaging, which includes mobile instant messaging, but also multimedia messaging, are touted as ways for operators to generate even more revenue out of messaging services. Other companies offering messaging platforms include CMG Wireless Data Solutions, Logica and Nokia.