It is understood that Telstra's fixed-line division is introducing the new messaging service in an attempt to protect its revenue streams as its rivals in mobile space step-up efforts to lure customers away from conventional land line services.
However, Tech Pacific, contracted to supply Telstra's own branded cordless-handsets to support the new service, has given the equipment a long lead over the service's launch.
Tech Pacific group product manager, Ian Ferret yesterday confirmed that the technology distributor had already released one of cordless-handsets in the series and that another would follow close on its heels.
The technology distributor released one handset late last month -- the F4100 -- and plans to release the next model in the series -- the F4200 -- later this month.
"I think its good for Telstra -- I think it's positive that there's product out there that going to fertilise the market," said Ferret.
Ferret later added that he would have been happy to have seen the service launch earlier in the year.
"I wished it was launched this month -- I wish it was launched last month," he said.
Telstra peer-to-peer messaging group manager, Damien Chappell said the carrier was still in the process of negotiating inter-connect agreements with its wholesale customers and other carriers.
ZDNet Australia understands that Telstra has already aborted three attempts to launch the service this year and that its next window of opportunity was expected around February next year.
Optus today said its customers were interested fixed-line SMS services.
"Optus continues to review the fixed line SMS opportunity on a regular basis with our customers. Our customer interest in this feature right now remains low," said a spokesperson for the carrier.
However it did not rule out launching the service in the future.
"Optus will consider launching this service at a point when it represents value to our customers and when there is a high level of consumer demand," the spokesperson added.
Tech Pacific currently anticipates that 200,000 of the estimated 2.2 million cordless fixed-line handsets expected to be sold next year will be compatible with the new messaging service.
Telstra's current fixed-line SMS service allows customers on its network to listen to text messages that have been sent from conventional mobile handsets via a text-to-voice system.
The expected launch would extend the service by giving its customers the ability to access text messages in the alpha-numeric form with which mobile users are familiar.