Arabtel first in region to ‘push’ mail onto mobiles

Arabtel will launch its first Mobilife series product - eMOM - this Wednesday. The firm claims this will be the first ‘Push Mail’ technology service to be offered in the Middle East.

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By  Chris Fernando Published  June 13, 2005

Arabtel will launch its first Mobilife series product - eMOM - this Wednesday. The firm claims this will be the first ‘Push Mail’ technology service to be offered in the Middle East. eMOM’s push technology allows users to transfer e-mails automatically and securely to a mobile phone without having to download them separately. Users can also download e-mail attachments at their own discretion, thereby saving on data communication costs. With this service, the e-mail server notifies the mobile handset as soon as new mail is available, and then pushes the message out to the handset. Unlike the version of push mail technology offered by vendors such as Research in Motion (creator of the ‘Blackberry’ handheld), which requires users to own this specific mobile device for the service to work, eMOM can be incorporated into any GPRS enabled mobile handset. “Traditional mobile e-mail is based on WAP browsing where the user has to actually go and download the information to the mobile phone,” explained Umakant Rath, chief executive officer of Arabtel. “This is fairly difficult and slow, which accounts for the slow spread of e-mail and calendar use with phones. Push technology makes using e-mails quick and easy, as the data is updated on the mobile phone in real time and automatically.” “eMOM will be the first push mail service in this region and we see a huge potential for this product here in the Middle East,” added Madhu Bhandari, managing director of MBC Solutions, which will promote the Push Mail technology in the UAE. The eMOM Push Mail service supports e-mail systems such as Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Domino and allows e-mail access from POP3, IMAP and webmail e-mail accounts such as Hotmail and Gmail. The technology is currently being pilot tested and will be available to end users from the third quarter of 2005. Now appears to be the time for push mail technology in the Middle East, with several firms poised to begin offering such services in coming weeks and months. Spurring this development on, at least in part, was last month’s announcement that Research in Motion (creator of the West's hugely popular, ‘push mail ready’ Blackberry handheld) had signed its first regional distributor, Orascom Telecom. The Blackberry has proved a great success in the US and Europe, due to its combination of push mail technology, strong branding, and usable, attractive handheld device on which to receive so-called ‘pushed’ mail. That said, mobile operators with no plans to offer accompanying hardware will also play their part in bringing push mail technology to the masses, first and foremost in the corporate – or enterprise - space. As effective remote access to e-mail has long been demanded by mobile business users, operators view this market as a potential source of future revenue through increased network usage.

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