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June 5, 2007 at 11:20 AM

InfoSpace nabs Virgin Mobile UK

Bellevue-based InfoSpace said on Saturday that it will work with Virgin Mobile in the United Kingdom to provide search capabilities on Virgin mobile phone.

That will offer Virgin subscribers in the U.K. the ability to search the Web, sites made explicitly for mobile and Virgin Mobile’s own portal and storefront, including ringtones, games and other content.

The new business is a reflection of InfoSpace’s recent partnership with FAST Search & Transfer, a developer of search technologies, and InfoGin, a leader in the field of Web-to-mobile content adaptation.

InfoSpace has been trying to play in the mobile search arena for some time, transferring its knowledge over from the Web, where it owns properties such as Dogpile.com, and leveraging its expertise in mobile.

It’s unknown whether mobile carriers would want to partner with InfoSpace after a series of events over the past two years. It started off when Cingular Wireless stopped using the carrier to aggregate its ringtones. Then, the company, under pressure from shareholders, decided to return about half of its cash balance — or about $200 million — to its shareholders.

Still, it faces major competition in mobile search, not only from the big online players such as Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft, but also from mobile upstarts such as Seattle’s Medio Systems and JumpTap, based in Massachusetts.

In fact, in the U.S., Virgin Mobile gets its search technology from JumpTap.

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