Sprint Corp. on Tuesday announced plans for a service that lets customers gain access to their corporate e-mail without having to deal with their corporate IT department.
Based on software from Seven Networks Inc., the Sprint PCS Business Personal Edition enables customers to download and install desktop software for the new service, which works with both Microsoft Outlook and Lotus Notes on any Sprint PCS device. When the service is launched later this quarter, the software will be available via the Sprint Web site or from any retail outlet that sells Sprint services.
Other carriers have offered services based on enterprise software from Seven in the past, but Sprint is the first to offer services based on the personal edition of the software rather than the network edition, meaning there is no need to manage anything on the corporate server.
"The product is geared to make wireless access to your corporate e-mail available to the masses," said Jason Guesman, director of business marketing for Sprint PCS in Overland Park, Kan.
The software also lets co-workers share connections via proxy settings. That means if someone is trying to access his e-mail but his PC isnt turned on, he can access it through a co-workers PC if the co-worker agrees to that.
When e-mail is downloaded to the phone, it is not replicated; it remains on the corporate network inside the firewall, and any changes made on the mobile device are made to the desktop as well.
"We made sure the data wasnt leaving the enterprise," said Bill Nguyen, president and founder of Seven in Redwood City, Calif. "Its very much a private, secure VPN."
Nguyen said that as IT managers become aware of the software, they may switch over to the network version of it; the personal edition is meant for customers whose businesses dont want to pay for an entire enterprise solution.
Pricing for the Sprint service has yet to be announced, but officials said it should be "significantly less" than the service fees for a Research In Motion Ltd. Blackberry device.