MySpace Hooks up with Cingular

Those of you waiting for MySpace mobile to move beyond just Helio, well, Cingular and MySpace say today that they are offering the MySpace Mobile service to Cingular customers. It makes sense — the largest U.S. carrier and the daddy of social networks. The deal will go a long way in teaching cell phone users in the U.S. about the mobile web and mobile applications.

The companies say Cingular subscribers will be able to edit MySpace profiles, view and add friends, upload photos and blogs, and send/receive messages. The service costs $2.99 per month plus data charges. Cingular customers can text “MYSPACE” to “386” (FUN) to get the MySpace Mobile application onto cell phones, as well as connect through Cingular’s menu. We downloaded the application and briefly tested it out.

The application itself is slick — and actually has a cleaner design than MySpace for the web (though that wouldn’t be too hard to beat). After downloading and opening the app, the first thing you read: “As with any heavy-data mobile application, Cingular strongly recommends you subscribe to a Media Max data bundle IN ADDITION to this purchase.” Smart Cingular. There’s a pretty good chance this application will convince a lot of cell phone users to get data plans.

Using the application to search friend’s profiles and look at photos was pretty slow over the cellular network. Regardless, this is one of the most high profile mobile applications to date for wireless users in the U.S., and will significantly boost the awareness of mobile downloads and apps — that makes it a good day for you mobile application startups!

Cingular had to get this deal with MySpace, after Verizon Wireless grabbed YouTube. (The Cingular/MySpace service doesn’t currently include video.) Though, Cingular and MySpace already offered text alerts. To date few mobile social networks have had much success, but this deal could change that. ABI Research says “mobile social communities” currently count nearly 50 million members worldwide, a number that is expected to reach 174 million in 2011.