Seven’s push-email to challenge Blackberry in South Africa

By   |  March 30, 2006

The second largest push-email supplier in the world, Seven, looks set to challenge the market-leading Blackberry in South Africa.

Local IT company, Dualcoms, announced the South African launch of Seven’s device-agnostic push-email technology today, saying it is a “compelling alternative” to Blackberry in South Africa.
Dualcoms CEO Andrew Dawson told journalists that despite a massive multi-million-Rand marketing campaign by local cellular companies, Blackberry had failed to capture significant market share in South Africa, leaving a market gap that Dualcoms is now aggressively targeting.

The Seven push-email technology runs on over 120 mobile devices and supports multiple platforms, including Brew, Palm, Symbian and Windows Mobile 5.0, which poses a significant challenge to Blackberry’s proprietary technology and handsets. “It works across the spectrum of phones and has an application for every user in the market,” says Dawson.

Although the product appears to be strongly aligned with Micrososft Outlook and Exchange server technology, its push-email component does support Groupwise on Linux and other POP3/IMAP services.

Dawson expects users to range from executives, to salespeople on the road, to the owners of small businesses. “Every single person in South Africa should have access to email,” says Dawson. Dualcoms is also looking to expand into Africa, as GPRS access improves on the continent, and it has already sold 2 000 licences through a reseller in Nigeria.

Once the Seven application is installed on a user’s handset, emails are automatically pushed to the handset, as well as the user’s desktop simultaneously. “Whatever you do on you handset is mirrored on your desktop,” says Dawson, including sent mail items, contact lists and calendars.

It’s the type of application that would excite geeks, but do people really want to receive emails on the road? “Not getting an email on time may result in losing a client, or losing some business,” Dawson tells Tectonic. He believes service-levels in South Africa could be improved by better on-the-move communication with clients.

At R50 to R95 per month, depending on the solution, Dawson says his solution is nearly a third cheaper than Blackberry’s. The company expects to bring Vodacom and local ISP Verizon Business on board soon as part of its drive to develop a formal reseller channel for the product.

A free 30-day trial of the Seven application can be downloaded from www.seven.com.

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