Verizon Debuts Worldwide Mobile E-Mail

The wireless carrier promises subscribers access to its mobile e-mail system from almost anywhere around the globe, for an extra $65 per month.

Verizon Wireless introduced its new GlobalEmail service on Friday, which promises to expand the carriers mobile e-mail capabilities to almost anywhere on the planet.

The Bedminster, N.J.-based company said the offering will give its business customers access to e-mail in over 50 countries worldwide.

Subscribers who want to utilize the Verizon Wireless GlobalEmail service will get unlimited e-mail access in the United Stated, Canada and Western Europe for an extra $64.99 monthly, and at a rate of three cents per kilobyte in most other countries.

The worldwide service will officially launch on Jan. 24. Outside of the United States, Canada, Australia and almost every European country, GlobalEmail also covers nations including Brazil, China, Egypt, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Israel, Kuwait, Malaysia, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Taiwan and Venezuela.

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The new service augments Verizons proprietary mobile e-mail technology, dubbed Wireless Sync, which allows its subscribers to send and receive e-mail directly from PDAs and smart phones, and to push messages from desktop PCs to wireless devices.

The company also markets the mobile e-mail services offered by Research In Motion Inc. for its Blackberry devices, and Palm Inc.s mobile e-mail for its Treo handhelds.

Verizon is only offering the GlobalEmail service on one device thus far, the recently introduced Samsung Electronics SCH i830, which offers a full QWERTY keyboard to accommodate text applications. However, company officials said that Verizon hopes to introduce the worldwide coverage on other devices in the future.

The i830, which retails for roughly $600, features dual-mode functionality that allows for use on CDMA and GSM networks for voice, and both EV-DO and GPRS networks for data applications.

Verizon officials said the company is continuing its push its worldwide footprint in the name of providing more seamless services to business travelers around the globe.

The company recently introduced GlobalAccess, which offers business customers Internet access across the United States, Canada and most of the countries covered by the GlobalEmail service.

Some industry watchers believe that the introduction of more devices like the i830, which were designed with mobile e-mail in mind, should help spur more people to begin using the tools.

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Avi Greengart, analyst with Washington-based Current Analysis, said that as the pricing for such handhelds begins to fall, user adoption of mobile e-mail may grow quickly.

"Without a full QWERTY keyboard, its going to be hard to convince people to sit down and tap out more text messages," he said.

"If the carriers and device manufacturers can make these types of applications more attractive to the end user, thats when people will really start to embrace these sort of tools."

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