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Sify Tech to launch cheap BlackBerry - like services

Rajesh S Kurup  |  Mumbai 

Nasdaq-listed Sify Technologies is close to launching cheap BlackBerry - like services in the country that can be accessed even by entry-level handsets. The company has licensed London-listed mobile e-mail and synchronisation solutions provider Synchronica’s mobile gateway solutions for providing the services in the country.

Even though, Sify is not the first company to launch cheap BlackBerry-like services (Rajesh Jain-promoted Netcore Solutions had launched the services in June last year), the move is important as existing services are highly priced. Most importantly, the services (also known as push mail or e-mail on mobile services) can only be accessed only on high-end handsets. Moreover, the launch also comes at a time when the Indian government is seeking legal intrusion (monitoring of data) of BlackBerry services and demanding that Research In Motion, Canadian owners of the service, moves its servers to the country.

“Basically, the idea is to offer BlackBerry-like services on mass market products. At present, the biggest problem is the high cost of both the services and handsets, which is preventing a mass adoption of push mail services,” Synchronica CEO Carsten Brinkschulte told Business Standard over phone from London.

Even though, prices of the services are yet to be fixed in the country, it would be priced to suit the masses. Sify will launch the services in the next few weeks, Brinkschulte added.

At present, service providers charge anything between Rs 800-1,200 (depending on the operator) a month for BlackBerry services, much in contrast with the Rs 1,000 per year levied by Netcore Solutions.

Sify Technologies has licensed Synchronica’s Mobile Gateway suite, under a go-to-market agreement in India and sub-continent, to provide the services. The solution also supports customised e-mails, address book and calendar recordings.

The biggest benefit is the service can be used on low-cost handsets that support SMS – lowest priced handset available in India is priced at Rs 500 – compared with normal BlackBerry services that need phones costing Rs 12,000 and above. It also does not require additional software to be installed on the handsets. To avoid a potential BlackBerry-like issue, the companies – Sify and Synchronica - will have their servers located in the country.

India is the fastest growing mobile market in the world, with it adding over 8 million users (in December 2008) taking the total subscriber base to 345 million.

Carsten Brinkschulte, CEO of Synchronica, added: “The agreement is a key contract win in India and corroborates our decision to focus on emerging markets. We believe, we have a winning combination for service providers in these regions because our scalable, secure software works on mass-market handsets and is ideal for both business users and consumers.”

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First Published: Thu, January 15 2009. 00:00 IST