Confirmed: O2 Restores Twitter UK SMS Service

On March 2, we were first to report that O2 was the first UK network to strike a deal to reinstate free inbound SMS service in the country. Now O2 is confirming the news.

Back then, the O2 deal was struck along with other UK carriers, but Vodafone was first to be announced, with an exclusive window…

On Monday, O2 said its arrangement will deliver “@” replies and direct messages to users via SMS for free, under a 600-a-month fair use limit. Outgoing tweets have been textable all along, charged at normal rate.

Vodafone had said that incoming tweet texts would be free only for a limited period, at a 500-a-month limit. The O2 announcement is more poignant – it was O2 subsidiary Manx Telecom that Twitter had used for all UK delivery until co-founder Biz Stone canned the channel in August ’08, grumbling “it could cost Twitter about $1,000 per user, per year”.

The breakthrough came after Twitter hired its first business development director Kevin Thau, who met European carriers to redraw SMS plans.

People just can’t seem to stop talking about Twitter in the UK; was the fifth most visited social network in May, according to Hitwise, whose stats didn’t even include use through API-dependent tools and mobiles.