Vodafone has teamed up with Microsoft to allow the 165 million users of the MSN Messenger instant messaging service to exchange messages with its own messaging variant - Vodafone Messenger.

Under the plans both MSN and Vodafone plan let customers buy bundles of messages that can be sent between the Internet and mobile phones.

Although no pricing structure as been agreed the idea would be for messages bought in bulk to be cheaper than a standard SMS message.

The service will initially launch in Italy, Spain and the Netherlands, with plans to roll out the service in the UK later in the year.

Although Vodafone Messenger has been available for around two years so far the company has yet to push the service both here in the UK and aboard.