The service will be paid for through advertisements that will be appended to messages. For now, users will only see the ads when they send a message, not when they read e-mails. And the ad will be based on a user’s profile after she has filled out a short questionnaire about the type of advertising she wants to see. The user can also accept advertisements based on keywords, for which she will receive points, and if the subscriber accepts full advertising, she will get to use premium features for free.
“Freedom Mail is a good idea, but they have a big road to climb,” says Ken Dulaney, vice president of mobile computers at Gartner, an information and technology research and advisory company based in Stamford, CT. “The fact that they don’t have a mainstream desktop e-mail user group and they are not a well-known name are strikes against them.” And, suggests Dulaney, don’t expect mobile operators to help the free download service.
Another global mobile push e-mail service provider, Emoze, launched a free mobile service in January. Its service gives users the option of downloading its software to their PC, which will serve as a connector pushing e-mails and data to their mobile device. Alternatively, users can employ a central server, installing the Emoze mobile client, and provide their Outlook Web Access credentials, which are encrypted and stored locally on their mobile device. The company also plans to launch a corporate version for a fee in the near future.
While it remains uncertain which strategy will dominate the market, the opportunities are clear. “The wireless market is very active and probably the best place for mobile operators to make money on data because it is something everyone wants,” says Dulaney. “Wireless e-mail is a certainty, and eventually, just as every cell phone has voice, every cell phone will have e-mail.”