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There’s Hot-mail on your Vodafone! - What's New? There’s Hot-mail on your Vodafone!

17 September 2002
Written by Kinny Cheng

SMS has provided mobile phone users with a wide selection of services - ranging from up-to-the-minute news to sports results, and (of course) not forgetting those personal short messages from family and friends. To sum things up, SMS is surely an enabler of convenience and most definitely a money-maker for the mobile networks.

What else would make life that much more convenient when we’re talking mobile phones? How about the ability to pass on the benefits of email without the need to carry a computing device around with you 24/7? No, you won’t need to get a new handset either! :)

Vodafone has recently made available the “Hotmail TXT” service, which allows current Hotmail users to have access to their email accounts from the convenience of their mobile phone. The Mobile Hotmail service allows notifications to be sent to a specified mobile phone number when a new email message arrives into the respective Hotmail account’s inbox, as well as the reading and composing email messages.

Currently, Vodafone is the only mobile network currently providing this service in Australia (sorry guys!) But for those Vodafone users interested in enabling their handset with Hotmail TXT, you’ll be glad to know that it works off the principles of basic SMS messaging - which means no need to learn new tricks and the ability to have this service with you even when you decide to go overseas (of course, this will require the country you are going to have a Vodafone roaming partner).

So how much does each message to and from Mobile Hotmail cost? A notification message or any message sent from Mobile Hotmail to a handset will cost 33 cents (including GST), while a message from the user to the Mobile Hotmail service number will set you back 25 cents (including GST). These SMS messages will appear on your Vodafone bill as “TXT Hotmail In” and “TXT Hotmail Out” respectively.

How does Hotmail TXT work?

The two basic requirements for using Hotmail TXT include a SMS-compatible mobile phone connected to the Vodafone network and a current (or active) Hotmail account. Once you have these, you can begin the registration process of “linking” your phone number with your web email account.

The "help" SMS message listing all available Mobile Hotmail commands...

Step one… signing up
Head over to the nineMSN web site (http://ninemsn.com.au) and look for the “Mobile central” link on the left navigational bar. Once the context menu appears, click on the “Mobile hotmail” option - which will take you to the “MSN Mobile SMS services” page. Choose the “sign up” option on the page and a number of questions will be asked regarding your mobile service and email account to be linked.

Step two… finalising the linkage
Once all the necessary information has been entered, a confirmation code will be sent to your mobile phone via SMS to finalise the sign-up process. Enter this code, and another short message will be sent welcoming you to the Mobile Hotmail service. Once receiving this message, it might be a good idea to save the mobile number of the message into your phone book - as this is Mobile Hotmail’s main access number for all related commands to the service.

Step three… using Mobile Hotmail
Now that you’ve managed to link up your email account with your mobile phone number, you can start accessing your Hotmail account directly from your handset - without the need to IR/Bluetooth your PDA or notebook and using the web browser to go in there! But there are trade-offs though - costs on a per-SMS-message basis and a shoddy interface (when compared to Hotmail’s web look of course).

New email arrival notification

Mobile Hotmail allows the sending and receiving of emails, in addition to the notification of new message arrivals. Communicating with the Hotmail side requires specific (but simple) command codes which instruct the server to perform the necessary actions. For example, simply type the letter “I” to show unread emails in your Hotmail inbox, “R” to send a reply to the current email being displayed, and “C [email] [message]” creates a new email message. For example, “C john@doe.com Hello how are you?” will send an email message to “john@doe.com” with the body “Hello how are you?” in it.

A list of these codes can be obtained by sending the letter “H” to the Mobile Hotmail access number.

Some tips on using Mobile Hotmail

Remembering the costs involved in sending and receiving Mobile Hotmail messages, there is a facility available for users to filter specific messages to be sent to a mobile handset via SMS. These Hotmail Alert Filters can be accessed from the “MSN Mobile SMS Services” page after logging in with your Hotmail username and password information.

By activating these filters, a user will be able to control which emails do actually get through to you via the Mobile Hotmail service (in the form of a notification message), and which ones stay in the Hotmail inbox before you check either through a manual request (“I” command) or via the standard web browser interface.

Related links:
nineMSN Mobile Hotmail web page
Mobile Hotmail signup page

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