EarthLink’s Pilot of Wireless Email via BlackBerry Handhelds
EarthLink, Inc. (NASDAQ: ELNK), the nation's second largest Internet Service
Provider (ISP), has begun a market test of EarthLink Airmanager, a wireless
service featuring BlackBerry Internet Edition from Research In Motion
Limited (NASDAQ:RIMM; TSE: RIM). The service allows EarthLink members
to send and receive e-mail messages using the BlackBerry Wireless Email
The EarthLink Airmanager service will utilize Research In Motion's BlackBerry
Handheld wireless device to provide the ISP's clients with the ability
to retrieve and respond to e-mail, at anytime, from anywhere. The BlackBerry
Handheld features a miniaturized keyboard, an easily viewable LCD screen
coupled with a navigation wheel allowing the end user to scroll up and
down with ease.
views wireless e-mail access as a logical extension of proactive customer
care. As e-mail has evolved from a pleasant, but not altogether necessary
application, into a mission critical application, the demand for access,
regardless of time, place, or device has never been greater. The initial
Pilot test of the BlackBerry Handheld e-mail device for the Airmanager
service will be limited to 500 users for a cost of $34.95 (USD) per month,
including unlimited messaging and the lease cost of the wireless device.
to EarthLink the average subscriber checks his or her e-mail at least
five times a day (considerably more for 'power' users). Given this very
basic statistic we believe the demand for the Airmanager service will
be overwhelming. We conservatively estimate the number of EarthLink e-mail
subscribers at approximately 3.4 Million, and given a successful pilot
would comfortably estimate the demand for the Airmanager service to capture
1 in 30 e-mail users, or approximately 100,000 users (Probability 80%).
The potential market impact for both RIM and EarthLink is staggering.
We believe the Airmanager service, albeit a Pilot now, will indeed be
a long-term success.
The announcement is good news for all parties involved, including EarthLink's
e-mail subscribers. The BlackBerry Handheld is a solid wireless messaging
tool, which has been tried and proven in the corporate world. The BlackBerry
device uses a Push technology and is constantly connected. The device
is easy to use and has an attractive form factor; one can attach BlackBerry
to a belt, slip it into a pocket or drop it into a purse.
As e-mail continues to become more and more important to users personal
lives we expect to see more ISP's start to offer wireless access via BlackBerry
devices, Palm devices, Wireless Access Phones, and PocketPC devices. Prior
to the end of 2003 we anticipate a global wireless enabled community consisting
of greater than 600 million users.