Under the agreement, Yahoo!-branded content will be distributed over BT’s mobile internet service Genie. Yahoo! will also provide Genie customers with a free email account.
The service is expected to be extended to BT subsidiaries in Europe –- Viag in Germany, Telfort in the Netherlands and Esat Digifone in the Republic of Ireland. It could also be made available in the US through BT’s Concert joint venture with AT&T. BT is also moving into other territories by investing in next-generation broadband mobile technology and third-generation mobile licences.
The partnership is viewed as beneficial to both parties. ISPs and portals such as Yahoo! are seen to be under threat from mobile companies such as BT, which are keen to gain control of the portals through which their customers access the web.
The service, which will provide both parties with revenues from advertising and mobile e-commerce, will be promoted through a jointly funded advertising campaign.
Rival partnerships include Vodafone’s Vizzavi joint venture with Vivendi, and Spain’s Telefonica, which has taken control of Lycos through its Terra Networks division. The deal also follows hot on the heals of Vodafone’s joint venture with Microsoft.