In an attempt to increase their credibility in the business market both T-Mobile and Orange have launched new business services but have chosen to do so by targeting very different market segments. T-Mobile launched a mobile email and web browser service supported by a range of terminals aimed at the SoHo market, while Orange took a combined voice and data offering to the corporate market for the first time.
T-Mobile is now offering a service which enables users to access existing Internet-based POP3 (Post Office Protocol 3) or IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) email accounts such as hotmail, via a Blackberry, Ericsson P800 or Nokia 3650 or 7650 device. T-Mobile is attempting to drive business take-up and, according to T-Mobile's Rob Price, "As T-Mobile's strength has traditionally been in the consumer market, the SoHo segment is a natural fit. It has a good alignment."
However, to address this market segment properly, T-Mobile has had to ensure that it the service is not priced out of the market and that it is easy to set up. Price explained that to create the market, the service would be priced at UKP10 per month for unlimited use until the end of October and thereafter at the same monthly fee for 6Mbytes which roughly equates to 1500 emails. Furthermore, the compression techniques integrated into the new Blackberry which has been supplied on an exclusive basis to T-Mobile until October, mean that the same number can be sent using only 3MB.
On the configuration side, all devices should be set up with the user's email address in store but new addresses (up to a total of 10) can be added easily by following the on-screen instructions. There is no requirement for the user to know complicated POP3 or SMTP setting as all this is taken care of over-the-air.
At the other end of the business user scale, Orange is claiming an industry first by combining voice and data in a single offering. The new offering called Orange Link Voice and Data, and created in conjunction with Cisco, automatically allocates the required bandwidth to each of the services used --- voice, data and SMS over a dedicated link into the corporate and therefore, is the first to offer true flexibility to the corporate market, according to Orange.
Typically, the traffic splits down to around 50% for voice, 30% for data and 20% for SMS, but, according to Jason Ellis product manager, Orange Business Solutions, other services "Don't react to users' behaviour. Customers are given a list of services and the bandwidth given is fixed and stays fixed."
Orange Link Voice and Data creates flexibility and automatically allocates bandwidth according to the require-ments and as a result is both more efficient and provides future proofing as the system will automatically respond to changes in the traffic balance --- such as the expected growth in data usage.
This functionality is provided by Cisco IP router equipment located in both the corporate's and Orange's core networks. The installation costs UKP3000 while the voice connection costs UKP7500 and each data connection UKP1500. However, according to Ellis "It is worth putting traffic onto a single bearer even if it's just on a financial basis...and if you use more than once service from Orange then users will benefit substantially." He further claimed, "We have moved the perceived cost of entry for data down."
A vote of confidence for Orange's capability in the enterprise space came from Paul Di Leo, worldwide director, Mobility Technology & Solutions, Cisco Systems who stated that he, "No longer sees Orange as a cellular operator but rather as a mobility operator. Orange is deepening its relationship with the enterprise." For Orange, Alastair Macleod, customer development director, Orange Business Solutions put great value in the relationship with Cisco claiming that, 'it says a lot about where Orange has reached in the business market that Orange can work with a market leader in data such as Cisco."