Yahoo! strikes search deal with Virgin Mobile

LONDON - Yahoo! has strengthened its mobile presence in the UK by signing a deal to offer Virgin Mobile's 4.4m customers mobile search through its enhanced mobile portal.

The new Virgin Media portal, available from December 8, will allow customers to access news, music, video and games, as well as Yahoo!'s oneSearch internet search service.

Yahoo! claims oneSearch intuitively returns results directly on the first screen so that customers don't have to navigate through numerous links to find the information they want.

For example, when a search for a football team is entered, Yahoo! oneSearch returns the latest scores, fixtures, team profiles, news, images and a link to the team's website.

Yahoo! and Virgin Media plan to deliver sponsored search results and contextually served sponsored listings within the Virgin Media mobile portal by early 2009.

The deal takes Yahoo!'s market share of the UK mobile search audience to 80% and follows similar deals with Orange, O2, 3 and T-Mobile.

Graeme Oxby, managing director of Virgin Mobile, said: "Our new Virgin Media mobile portal brings the web to consumers' pockets.

"A great mobile search service is a crucial part of this and by integrating Yahoo! oneSearch into the portal, we are ensuring our customers have all the information they need at their fingertips.

Mitch Lazar, managing director of Connected Life Europe, Yahoo!, said: "Working closely with our 70 mobile operator partners, Yahoo! oneSearch is a starting point for mobile consumers globally, revolutionising the mobile search experience by delivering relevant answers to queries that mobile users have while on-the-go."

Separately, last week ITV and Google signed a deal to allow the search giant to power some web ads for the broadcaster.

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