3 Makes Mobile E-Mail More Affordable

Posted by: Olga Kharif on September 4, 2008

Ask anyone what proven wireless killer apps are, and they’ll tell you: voice and e-mail. Well, for years now, mobile e-mail has been the prerogative of the well-to-do: You had to buy a BlackBerry or another expensive smartphone and a costly data plan to use it.

Well, that’s about to change. This week, I’d reviewed Peek, an inexpensive device soon to become available at Target that allows for mobile e-mail access for $20 a month. Now comes the news that European carrier 3 has started to offer mobile e-mail to its voice subscribers for about $3.60 a month. This price includes a little bit of Web surfing, too.

I think U.S. carriers have to follow 3’s suit, and soon. In the past, they’d used mobile e-mail as a carrot to get people to sign up for data plans. But not everyone can afford to pay $30 a month for wireless data. A cheaper, e-mail-only offering would bring mobile e-mail into the mainstream, the same way that $10-a-month messaging plans have made SMS so popular. Why shouldn’t mobile e-mail become as common as SMS? No reason at all.

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Bloomberg Businessweek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, and Douglas MacMillan, dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.

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