Friday, 26 June 2009

Philippines ranks top 5 in mobile e-mail usage, Nokia says

Lenie Lectura with Armin A. Amio
Business Mirror

THE Philippines now ranks the fifth-largest user of mobile e-mail in the world, according to a study made by Finnish mobile phone manufacturer Nokia.

The survey was conducted only since May 2008, when Nokia launched the beta version of its Ovi Mail e-mail service. Nokia Philippines has high hopes that in three years, the country will be named the top user globally.

“I tell you. After being named as the texting capital of the world, the Philippines will soon be the mobile e-mail capital of the world,” said Nokia Philippines general manager William Hamilton-Whyte. “That is why Nokia’s phones will all be e-mail capable.”

To be the e-mail capital of the world, Filipinos should have access to e-mail capable devices. And the cheapest and most convenient way to access the Internet is via mobile phones, said Hamilton-Whyte. At present, Indonesia holds the title as the largest mobile e-mail-user, “but this is largely because of the size of its population,” he explained.

Aside from accessing e-mail through personal computers, laptop, or PDAs, one can check, compose and browse over his e-mail through e-mail-capable handsets.

Nokia Philippines currently has 30 different models that can do mobile e-mail. The cheapest unit costs about P3,000.

Whyte said mobile e-mail is cheaper than sending text messages abroad, which costs from P10 to as much as P75. “In e-mail, you can say a lot of things than SMS, which is limited to a few hundred characters per e-mail,” said Whyte.

And people who don’t have Internet access at home would still have to take public transport to get to the nearest Internet café.

Mobile Internet browsing rate is P5 for 15 minutes for Globe Telecom subscribers and P10 for 30 minutes for Smart Communications Inc.

The Philippine population is now at 90 million. Of that, only 18 million have Internet access. “The reasons I cited will definitely push the usage of mobile e-mail in this country,” said Whyte during a press briefing yesterday of Nokia’s newly launched N97 handset.

The handset features a multitude of music, maps, games, media and applications via Ovi. The retail price is P34,000.

In the Philippines, Whyte said there are an estimated 5,000 new activations to mobile e-mail every week. A huge leap will be seen in the next 12 months. “We will see a big change. Mobile e-mail will be the next big thing. Within the next three years, we will make sure that mobile e-mail is the leading solution that will be used by mobile users.”

Nokia recently launched four affordable Nokia handsets that support Ovi Mail. These handsets cater to the lower-segment of the market, targeting the youth. Price ranges from P5,000 to P7,500 each.

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