T-Mobile (and T-Mobile USA, in particular) has been an interesting organization to watch over the last few years. At a CTIA trade show about 3 years ago, I had a T-Mobile representative tell me flat out, "We don't care about the enterprise." My, how times have changed. T-Mobile recently revealed a push email service for its enterprise customers, and this week in Barcelona announced it is going to push email to consumers, as well. Oh, and it's finally going to deploy 3G in the U.S.The news of this service came from a T-Mobile press conference yesterday at the 3GSM World Congress trade show. T-Mobile International CEO Hamid Akhavan said, "We plan a new service that will push email to consumers. This could become a very huge market." He hit the nail on the head.
The growth--and revenue--potential of mobilizing email for the mass market is quite large. To-date, a little over 6 million of the estimated 165 million corporate email addresses have been mobilized with services like RIM's BlackBerry, Motorola's Good Technology or Nokia's Intellisync. The number of non-mobilized personal email addresses is far larger.
As part of the press conference, Akhavan intimated that the consumer push email service could be part of its new set of social networking and community-based offerings, like myFaves. "It's still early days for social networking services over mobile networks but they will drive growth," he said. No word on how much the service will cost, when it will be available, what handsets it will be compatible with or even which countries will see the service first. But at least it's on T-Mobile's map.
Also (finally!) on T-Mobile's map is the roll-out of 3G services in the U.S. Deployment chief Ray Nevelle said U.S. customers should expect to see 3G this year. Stemming from its recent license winnings with AWS auction held by the FCC last fall (and more officially announced in October 2006), T-Mobile has some shiny new spectrum (1700MHz and 2.1GHz bands) that it can use to deploy a 3G network. This move is long overdue, as its three larger competitors, Cingular, Verizon Wireless and Sprint Nextel, unfurled their own 3G networks long ago.
It may be a little late to the party, but we're glad to see that T-Mobile has finally arrived.