Twitter is partnering with U2opia, a Singapore-based mobile applications provider, to bring aspects of its Twitter service to users on phones that don’t have Internet capabilities. Users will need to type in a short code and will then have access to trending topics on Twitter from their respective areas.
A Twitter spokesperson confirmed the partnership to Mashable but did not comment on how many international users will have access to the new service. According to Reuters, users will only have access to trending topics, meaning the majority of tweets will not be viewable. It does not appear users will be able to send tweets using U2opia’s application.
Facebook has a similar partnership with U2opia, as does Google Talk. Fonetwish, the company’s product that allows users to access Facebook (and soon Twitter) without the Internet, only works with text-based messages, meaning pictures and videos won’t be viewable. U2opia claims that more than half a million users from around the world access Facebook each month without Internet.
U2opia did not immediately respond to Mashable‘s request for comment.
Twitter has more than 218 million users worldwide, almost 80% of which reside outside the United States. Much like Facebook plans to add its next billion usersfrom emerging markets like South America and Asia, Twitter hopes to do the same.
In Twitter’s S-1, which was filed ahead of its IPO in early November, the company listed a handful of foreign countries as targets for increased user growth. Markets like Argentina and South Africa were highlighted as areas where user growth should, and most likely will, eclipse growth from the United States. Making even parts of the service available to users with older phones is a step toward accomplishing that.
The new Internet-free version of Twitter will be available in Q1 of 2014, according to Reuters.