Vodafone plans 'push' e-mail service

Vodafone set to take on RIM's Blackberry device

In a direct challenge to Research In Motion (RIM) and its popular BlackBerry wireless device, Vodafone Group plans to launch its own service later on Thursday to push e-mail to mobile handsets.

Vodafone already offers the service in Germany and Italy, but will now begin offering it across Europe, according to a person familiar with the situation.

In the past, users have had to check their mailbox periodically and then "pull" new mail from the server to their handset. In a "push" e-mail service, the server notifies the handset automatically as soon as new mail is available, and then pushes the message out to the handset.

The popularity of the BlackBerry device, which pioneered the push e-mail technology, has proven there is a robust market for the service in the enterprise.

Vodafone, in Newbury, England, has been making a concerted effort to cater for the enterprise market with new 3G (third-generation) mobile communication products and services. One such product, launched last year, is its Mobile Connect 3G/GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) datacard range, that plugs into a laptop offering maximum download speeds of 384Kbps and a top upload speed of 64Kbps.

Vodafone also has an ongoing relationship with RIM, and offers its customers in Ireland and New Zealand wireless e-mail capabilities using the BlackBerry 7230 handset.

Copyright © 2005 IDG Communications, Inc.

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