Orange attacks BlackBerry market

Today, Orange unveiled a new mobile push email service – Orange Mail – targeted at enterprise users that they hope will “break down the barriers” to a more widespread take-up of mobile push email services.Orange has opted to develop their own solution, rather than use a platform offered by SEVEN or Visto.
Orange Mail, using Altexia software and R&D from their parent France Telecom is a solution based on the installation on the enterprise server and will launch with a range of eight handsets
“It’s not a white-label solution,” commented Cynthia Gordon, president of business marketing at Orange. “It’s a very different approach.”

Orange’s unveiling of Orange Mail is essentially an announcement of its long-term strategy for mobile push email. They claim its new offering will lower costs as it will be cheaper and quicker to implement, and will also enable the them to keep full control of the service.
In Orange’s view, there is a gap in the market for enterprise mobile email that is not being addressed by existing solutions such as RIM’s BlackBerry or Microsoft products.

”We aim to democratise mobile email,” said Gordon. “We see a potential to expand the market.”

Gordon cited Orange research that indicated just 10% of small and medium-sized businesses are using mobile email services and said key barriers to take-up include cost, complexity of service, and available devices.

Gordon stressed, however, that Orange Mail is not planning to replace BlackBerry services, which Orange also offers, but complement them. For example, a business might provide a BlackBerry solution for a small and exclusive section of the management team, while Orange Mail would then be deployed for the rest of the workforce.

”We want to drive it further into the business,” said Mike Welbrock, business-marketing manager at Orange. “It’s about cracking open the market. We want businesses to see mobile email as a productivity tool.”

The company plans to take an aggressive approach to pricing and said Orange Mail will be much cheaper to implement than other enterprise mobile email solutions.

The initial launch is in Romania, which has surprised many industry analysists, not being available until Q1 2007 in the UK when the mobile email market may be significantly different.

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