BlackBerry wireless e-mail extends European reach

By Rick Perera, IDG News Service |  Hardware

The BlackBerry wireless e-mail service will soon extend its reach in Europe, thanks to a new deal between Research In Motion Ltd. (RIM), which makes the handheld devices, and mobile telecommunication provider mmO2 PLC.

Users will soon be able to roam across mmO2's various wireless operators in the U.K., Ireland, the Netherlands, and Germany, RIM spokeswoman Tilly Quanjer said Tuesday, adding that other major European countries will likely be served soon.

The new arrangement extends a deal made last year between RIM and mmO2 (then BT Cellnet PLC) to offer the service in the U.K. Separate agreements have already been made with mmO2 subsidiaries Telfort Mobiel BV in the Netherlands and Digifone MMO2 Ltd. in Ireland, and user trials are under way in Germany, where mmO2 subsidiary VIAG Interkom GmbH & Co. will provide the service.

"Certainly in the U.K. things are going extremely well," said Quanjer, adding that it's too early to say how sales are going in the Netherlands, where the service was launched in November, or in Ireland, where Digifone began taking orders last month. "But we're getting an awful lot of business; we're very, very busy."

MmO2 spokesman Simon Gordon said his company has signed up about 100 corporate customers for BlackBerry since September, when it launched the commercial service. He could not say how many individual users those customers represent.

Both companies said pricing throughout Europe would likely be comparable to the model already in use in the U.K., under which corporate clients pay a one-time cost of about

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