T-Mobile has launched push e-mail for Windows-based handsets, but only for companies.
"We already provide Blackberry, and are strong in the consumer area," said Jote Bassi, marketing manager for data at T-Mobile. "We are now focussing on the business market. Likely customers for this will have forty, fifty or more mobile users."
T-Mobile is not actually doing much with this service, except providing handsets and a data pipe for customers with Microsoft Exchange 2003 Service Pack 2. T-Mobile provides the Windows 5.0 handset devices, such as the MDA Pro, MDA Vario and MDA Compact which T-Mobile provides, as well as the GPRS, 3G and Wi-Fi.
Unlike Blackberry, there's no third party equipment or software, and no servers run by T-Mobile, so it won't be available to individual users. The piece that makes T-Mobile different, says Bassi, is its flat-rate £17 (plus VAT) "Web’n’walk Professional" tariff, which should encourage users to adopt mobile e-mail, as long as they don't go over a 2GB threshold. For users with voice contracts, Web'n'walk can be added for £8.50 (plus VAT) per month.
Microsoft's push e-mail, launched last year, will synchronise other Outlook data such as tasks and contacts, and also lets IT managers control passwords centrally, as well as wipe data remotely automatically if the device is picked up by someone else who makes too many failed login attempts.
Despite these promises, users have so far not been keen on the prospect of using a Microsoft 1.0 release, especially if they are not planning on upgrading immediately to the latest Exchange version.
Vodafone already supports a Microsoft-based e-mail service, which it launched last year in advance of Microsoft's push upgrade. O2 launched push e-mail based on i-mode, not Exchange, last year, and has delivered handsets such as the XDA which run Windows Mobile supports Exchange push e-mail.
Orange launched a cheap push e-mail service last month, based on third party software from Altexia, and compatible with earlier versions of Exchange.