Comprehensive article by Surajeet Das Gupta in Business Standard on the competiton between Airtel’s Blackberry and Hutch Mail.

Hutch had announced its mobile push mail service HutchMail, in August this year. But there was hardly any visibility of the product after that. But looks like there are interesting times ahead in the enterprise mobile segment.

Hutch is hitting directly at the cost of adoption and ownership of Blackberry. It has dramatically dropped entry tariffs to nearly half those of Airtel’s Blackberry, is doling out servers free to corporates, and is offering the service on an array of phones (nearly 30 models from different handset manufacturers) so you don’t need to spend extra as is the case with Blackberry (which is limited to just a handful of models).

Its study shows that 40% of management staff in any corporate already own such phones, and so will not be required to change to subscribe to the push mail service.

The cost points for a company going in for a Blackberry solution are:

Blackberry Enterprise Server = Rs 1-2 lakh
Blackberry-enabled phone = Rs 20,000+
Monthly service tariff = Rs 500-1,000

Its entry price for e-corporate mail at Rs 199 is much cheaper than Airtel’s entry price of Rs 499. In both cases, customers pay for downloads (Airtel charges 50 paisa per kilobyte, Hutch is claiming it will offer 10 kilobytes for the same price).

Hutch is additionally offering a Rs 499 pack for 100 MB download (which it says is enough for most subscribers). But Blackberry users have no such option and have to pick up a pack of Rs 899 for limitless download (Hutch’s offer for a similar package is also at the same price).

Hutch has already roped in 70 corporates and over 3,000 users to its fold. Trial runs are on in over 200 companies across the country to experience its service.

Explaining the company’s strategy, Asim Ghosh, managing director of Hutchison Essar, points out: “The mobile phone has to be the way that e-mail services will reach the masses. You could call this the democratisation of the e-mail.


ValueFirst‘s barcode service provides companies the ability to send encoded seven digit numbers in a barcode picture message, readable by standard barcode readers. Along with the barcode a 120 character text message can be sent giving description of the offer in the barcode.

Mr. Vijay Shukla, Country Head, ValueFirst messaging, said, “the service is likely to have a high acceptance among organized retailers, multiplexes, and other sales-led companies. Marketers can now design various contests, promotions, invitations for events around this service


Through the introduction of BlackBerry Connect in India, Airtel will extend BlackBerry wireless services to the Nokia 9500 Communicator, Nokia 9300 smartphone and Sony Ericsson P910i

Announcing this, Manoj Kohli, President Mobility, of the company, “Email continues to be a key communication medium and research indicates that the first application most mobile users like to see integrated into their mobile phones is their email. Emails also have one of the greatest impacts on productivity.

BlackBerry on Airtel was not only the first mobile email product in India but is still the only commercial solution available to enterprise. Other operators like Hutch or Tata Tele are still at the announcement or pilot stage.


Pauly claimed that the sheer number of operators involved in remote workers’ lives–one for their mobile phone, one for fixed office telephony, one for wireless Internet access and one for fixed broadband access at home–made it almost impossible for budget controllers to keep track of costs…

Obermann added that the next challenge for the mobile industry was to effectively “cut the wire to the PC” and let users access all the applications they have in an office environment via their mobile. “This is going to require a lot of focus by the industry,” he said.

Source: Corporate customers want less cellular fluff | CNET