Are you a mail addict who doesn’t have pockets deep enough for a mobile e-mail device? If yes, there’s good news. The mobile industry believes that after SMS and MMS, the next big wave will be ‘push-mail’ devices that automatically receive all your e-mails by connecting to your mail server.
So far, such devices were used only by the corporate elite. Now, the ‘trickle-down effect’ of competition means that even BPO yuppies and college-goers might own one.
Not only will they come with great brand choice and lower tariffs, the devices will also be significantly cheaper than they are now. While there are 30,000 to 35,000 users today, industry players say that the number could rise to five lakh or more within a year.
In India, the most common device for push-mail has been Blackberry, first offered by Airtel two years ago. But they are unlikely to be the only players for long. Already, Hutch and Idea are offering push-mail services and Reliance Communication is set to jump into the fray in January. This is expected to be the trigger for slashed costs and greater reach.
Apart from the Blackberry service, the Windows Mobile service for push-mail is also operational. It can be accessed by iMate and IPaq devices. Reliance has launched the UT Starcom service for push-mail, which can be accessed by the Reliance Pocket PC on the CDMA platform.
Harit Shah, a telecom analyst with Angel Broking, told HT, “Push-mail will be the next big wave, and is likely to get better acceptance than 3G services like streaming video.” Shah feels five lakh users in a year is easily achievable for an industry that is adding 50 lakh new cellphone subscribers a month.
Gopal Mittal, Airtel’s marketing director, added, “Competition is what will grow the market.” Reliance sources said they are looking to aggressively push down the access price, perhaps as low as Rs 15,000. A Reliance spokesperson, who declined to be named as per company policy, said, “There is tremendous growth potential for applications like push-mail.”