The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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The SMS cure for word worries

New Delhi, Sept. 5: Struggling to find an appropriate word to describe your girl friend' Just key in “DICT” and send an SMS from your mobile phone to 500.

AirTel’s dictionary service means that you can impress your boss and friends by always coming up with mot juste — the apt word at the right time.

All that a customer needs to do is send the keyword “DICT” to 500, a pre-designated number, and the return SMS will indicate the meaning of the word requested.

Don’t bother if you have sent the wrong spelling of the words requested because the return SMS would request you to check the spelling of the word and resend the message to 500.

This mobile dictionary service, available to all the pre-paid as well as post-paid AirTel customers in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh (west), has a repository of more than 1.5 lakh words.

The service, launched by AirTel is under a tie-up with Cell Next, which is the content provider for the service. For most words, there are more than three meanings reflected by the return SMS.

“The launch of the SMS based “dictionary” service is an indicator of the growing popularity of the service and the convenience offered.

“Today more than one crore SMSs are exchanged on the GSM mobile networks in the country and these include messages which are person-to-person as well as messages to seek information, download ring tones,” said Sanjay Nandrajog, chief executive officer of Bharti Cellular Ltd, North Central region.

Services like mobile dating which is akin to instant messaging software such as Yahoo messenger, albeit in a text-only menu interface, have also contributed to the immense popularity of SMS.

For instance the “TrackUrMate” service from AirTel allows men and women to create a profile, search for dates and start conversations through SMS messages.

“Therein lies the inherent power of a small text message. It is an inexpensive and simple text based communication system that most cell phone users use today when they are in meetings or chats. It is already used as an effective marketing tool by some networks abroad,” said Nandrajog.

In many international markets, SMS texting is now achieving critical mass. Industry analysts estimate that the total number of SMS messages sent worldwide will rise from 104 billion in the first quarter of 2002 to 329 billion in the second quarter of 2003. Twelve billion text messages are sent worldwide each month to PCs, personal digital assistants and mobile phones, and pagers add another three billion text messages each month.

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