Smart Communications is the biggest mobile operator in the Philippines – and today it has launched a mobile email service that every single subscriber will be able to use. Even those without smartphones… or even mid-level feature phones. All you need is SMS.
What’s the story?
The Smart Communication deal is with mobile services provider Synchronica – which is best known for its extremely robust messaging features. Usually, when Sychronica announces an upcoming operator deal it’s all very hush-hush; no names are mentioned. So it’s nice to get a look at the actual network as well, this time.
What’s the deal?
Synchronica has launched its GoMail service to Smart subscribers. It enables mobile email to anyone on the network – and scales itself automatically depending on what kind of phone you have. If you send your email to a mobile number, you can be guaranteed that it will get there, even if it’s an extremely low-tech phone. If it’s an up-to-date device, the email will be delivered through a synchronized email account. If you don’t have access to email accounts on your mobile, it will be delivered through a series of MMS messages. And if you’re phone is so low-tech that all you have is voice and SMS, it will be delivered by breaking it down in to SMS. That won’t result in a slew of spam SMS, though – first of all, the subject of the mail is sent as a text message. If the recipient wants to receive the rest, they respond to the text message.
People who want to use the service will have to pay for it, though. It’s not value-added. There are two subscriber options, both of which are unlimited. You can either pay $0.45 for a day’s worth of emails, or $4.45 for a month’s worth.
What we think?
I’ve always been a fan of Synchronica. The mid-level handset market is still the biggest in the world, and Synchronica caters directly to that market with genuinely useful services like GoMail. It even launched its own, very cheap, messaging handsets – and earlier this year it bought the entire messaging department from Colibria (see our report). Developing markets in particular are very open to Synchronia: people want to be able to use advanced mobile features, particularly in countries where personal computers are really too expensive to own. Platforms like this provide those features without consumers needing to buy ANY extra devices, or the network to upgrade its infrastructure.