Sprint-Hosted E-Mail Service Lets IT Have Control

By Carmen Nobel  |  Posted 2002-05-06

Sprint PCS group last week announced a new corporate wireless e-mail service designed to be managed by a companys IT department but still hosted by the carrier.

The Sprint PCS Business Connection Enterprise Edition offers access to Microsoft Corp.s Outlook or IBMs Lotus divisions Notes from any device with an HTML or Wireless Application Protocol browser. It is designed to compete with Research In Motion Ltd.s BlackBerry Enterprise Server, which sits behind a corporate firewall rather than in a carrier data center.

The new Enterprise Edition improves on the Overland Park, Kan., carriers previous corporate e-mail access service—announced in February—which offered a software download to the desktop but no control by a users IT department.

The new service includes administration features that allow IT managers to add, delete or suspend accounts; monitor the status of a connection; customize links; and establish security policies.

The service is based on software from Seven Networks Inc., in Redwood City, Calif. Atlanta-based Cingular Wireless announced a similar service based on Seven software in March.

Sprint also bolstered security in its Enterprise Edition. The service is designed such that the server in Sprints data center connects to the server behind the corporate firewall via a number of security options, ranging from basic Secure Sockets Layer security to a virtual private network. Each transaction is authenticated individually with the identity of the mobile user.

The carrier never makes a copy of the data, which Sprint officials claim as proof that a carrier-hosted model is as secure as one in which the software sits behind the firewall.

The Business Connection Enterprise Edition will be available by the middle of this year, to coincide with the launch of Sprints third-generation wireless network, officials said. Sprint has yet to set pricing but said it will be based on a per-user license in addition to any initial charges for setting up individual security and other options. Cingulars service costs $10 per user per month in addition to existing service charges.

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