It just got a little easier for small and midsize businesses to look like giant enterprises. Verizon Wireless has introduced several plans aimed at SMBs that offer wireless e-mail solutions.
The first offering is Hosted VZEmail Services, which allows customers to synchronize e-mail accounts as well as calendars, contacts and tasks on Windows Mobile devices. Free technical support is included.
Mike Tomassi, product manager for Verizon, told us that the company is responding to customer requests for mobile workers. "A customer like a mom-and-pop shop doesn't have the money to purchase a behind-the-firewall solution or an enterprise server," he said, nor can they afford to hire and manage a team of IT workers.
Other Platforms Possible
For now, the service is limited to the Windows Mobile platform, though Tomassi said the company is looking into supporting other platforms in the future. There are two plans available.
The Basic Exchange Plan costs $7.99 a month per seat; it supports POP3 and IMAP protocols and includes 25MB of storage as well as Outlook Web Access.
The Premium Exchange Plan for $14.99 a month per seat includes 100MB of storage and adds options such as Outlook Mobile Access to access e-mail and PIM data (which is automatically reformatted regardless of device); Outlook Anywhere to access Hosted VZEmail without using a VPN; ActiveSync to receive push e-mail; and Outlook 2007 to provide "a familiar and friendly PC interface," according to the company.
VZEmail uses direct-push technology for e-mail updates. Customers can create a global address list of employees, manage distribution lists, and schedule meetings and other resources. Using Outlook Web Access, they can securely access corporate e-mail. Users can also use their existing Internet domain addresses, Tomassi said.
"Our research has shown that small businesses, entrepreneurs and professionals from an array of industries need e-mail pushed directly to their handsets so they can be responsive to their customers while out of the office," said Robert Miller, vice president of marketing for Verizon Wireless.
Other Smartphone Offerings
Verizon is also trying to bring other enterprise-type offerings to its smaller customers. It's offering smartphone users unlimited Web browsing and access to as many as 10 personal e-mail accounts, including those from Yahoo, AOL and Windows Live. The E-mail and Web for Smartphone plan is $29.99 a month and works on the Verizon SMT5800 and XV6800 and the MOTO Q9m, with support for other devices in the future. Customers can access up to three POP3 accounts.
The new plan joins the company's BlackBerry Email Solutions. Tomassi said these plans are at lower price points than previous plans, which were as much as $79.95 a month.