That's because e-mail access to mobile devices is quickly being embraced by the mainstream, just as voice was a number of years ago, according to the Gartner study. The momentum is so strong that e-mail access will be built into mobile devices, even though wireless carriers won't profit from it.
"Operators are reluctant to permit widespread messaging access to their networks without collecting fees from those who send such messages, such as spam," Ken Dulaney, vice president for Gartner. "However, operators will lose this battle the same way that telecommunications companies lost the battle against an open Internet."
Another reason wireless operators will resist this trend is that it will reduce voice minutes, according to Dulaney. That's particularly true for enterprise users. But as mobile e-mail becomes more mainstream, both individual and enterprise users will demand it.
"A business manager might see voicemails dropping precipitously and find real benefits to the fact that messages can be forwarded easily inside and outside the organization," Dulaney said. "The overall cost per message delivered is likely to be lower, given the theory that most phone calls are several minutes long and include the time to connect to the person called."