Royal Bank of Scotland to back cheaper text service

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has signed a deal to sponsor a new service that allows mobile phone users to send low cost text messages via the internet.

Former Philips and Samsung marketer Phil Jones and ex-telecoms journalist Stuart McWilliam launched Tex2, which they describe as the “Skype of text messaging”, last year (MW July 20, 2006). Tex2 sends messages from phone to phone using the internet rather than short message service (SMS).

Users download a programme from the Tex2 website and messages are then sent for less than a penny, rather than through the networks, which can cost around 12p per message.

RBS branding will feature on the Tex2 screen as part of the sponsorship deal and the bank will offer the service to students from a link on its Royalties website.

Jones says users can text all evening for less than 50p on Tex2 and analysts have described the service as a “threat” to mobile operators, which earn about 17% of their revenues from text messaging in the UK.

RBS and NatWest announced at the end of last year that they were launching 100 “school banks” in deprived inner-city areas as part of a pledge to educate children about finance (MW November 9, 2006). It is the first time the RBS-owned bank brands have launched a national drive to recruit schools.

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