Thursday, April 06, 2006

MTV, NBA store in new PayPal mobile text deal - Reuters

By Eric Auchard 1 hour, 18 minutes ago

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Online payment company PayPal on Thursday said MTV and the National Basketball Association (NBA) and others will accept payments from a new service allowing purchases by mobile phone text message.

The move by PayPal, a unit of online auctioneer eBay Inc. (Nasdaq:EBAY - news), marks a big step in bridging the worlds of electronic commerce and brick-and-mortar stores, by giving consumers a pay option via telephone.

PayPal Mobile lets consumers instantly buy goods and services, such as compact discs, DVDs and apparel, by sending product codes via text message.

PayPal signed up News Corp.'s (NYSE:NWS - news) 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, NBC Universal's (NYSE:GE - news) Bravo, Viacom Inc.'s (NYSE:VIA - news) MTV, and the NBA Store for its Text to Buy service.

PayPal President Jeff Jordan is set to introduce PayPal Mobile, a service that allows consumers in the United States and Canada to send money anytime via mobile phone, at a keynote speech at a mobile industry conference in Las Vegas.

Gartner Inc. analyst Avivah Litan said PayPal has taken years to deliver a mobile version of its online payment service, fearing that without specific uses the format would fail.

"It was never a question of PayPal not having the technology to do this," Litan said. "It was always an issue of having the right applications," she said.

Litan, the mother of two teenagers, said mobile text message payments have a natural U.S. audience among 18- 30-year-olds, who spend their days texting one another and often use PayPal because they don't qualify for credit cards and eBay because they can't afford to pay retail prices.

PayPal has more than 100 million customers worldwide. To use PayPal Mobile, customers must activate their mobile phones by signing on to their PayPal accounts at

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