DiGi Telecommunications Sdn Bhd has announced a strategic partnership with Google to offer Gmail Short Messaging Services (SMS) effective today.

DiGi is the first telecommunication company (telco) in Malaysia to offer the Gmail SMS service, and the partnership is one of many innovative ways DiGi is leveraging on to deliver its “Internet For All” promise of making it easier for Malaysians to access the power of the Internet.

Praveen Rajan, head of Mobile Internet & Ads for DiGi, said the partnership empowers the company to offer the SMS option to millions of Gmail users in the country.

It would also significantly extend their chat community, through real-time chat via SMS, regardless of any mobile device type, he said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Sajith Sivanandan, Google Malaysia country head, said SMS has long been a common means of mobile communications in Malaysia and many people in the country still rely on their non-smartphones.

Gmail SMS makes instant communication between Gmail and a mobile phone possible via SMS, he said.

Gmail SMS brings the Gmail service to a non-smartphone, as with Google’s Gmail SMS, people can send free text messages directly from their Gmail account and replies and responses would appear as a reply in Chat.

For DiGi customers, the service is free without requiring subscriptions, while chat messages sent via SMS from their mobile phones are billed at RM0.10 per SMS.