Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Vodafone launches own brand of e-mail service with Visto

RCRNews reports that Vodafone launched a new "mobile e-mail service in the United Kingdom under its own brand of Vodafone Business Email. Vodafone is working with Visto for the service, which already has been launched in other European countries, and will coexist alongside "Vodafone's existing Blackberry products and Microsoft Exchange e-mail product."

Jeremy Green at Ovum said, "Vodafone makes much of the fact that it can offer potential customers a variety of different e-mail solutions to match their particular needs. The reality is that its Visto launch is an intelligent response to its situation between a rock and a hard place. The rock is Research In Motion-whose brand strength means that many customers ask for Blackberry rather than wireless e-mail; Vodafone must therefore endure the structure of the deal that RIM offers, even though it isn't particularly attractive.

"The hard place is Microsoft, whose enhancements to Exchange 2003 mean that user organizations can offer something very much like push e-mail, via scheduled synchronization, to end users with Microsoft devices. Vodafone knows that some of its corporate customers want to go down this route, even though this leaves it, as mobile operator, fulfilling the dreaded bit-pipe role.

"Vodafone's response is as smart as is possible under the circumstances. In principle, it offers all three kinds of solutions-five really, since both the Visto and the Blackberry products come in both hosted and corporate firewall versions-and provides its sales teams with a software tool to help diagnose the customers' real requirements," Green concluded