December 07, 2000, 12:24 PM —
EarthLink has followed in the steps of America Online Inc. and Yahoo Inc. and
kicked off its wireless e-mail service, offering a package of hardware from Research In
Motion Ltd. (RIM) and unlimited airtime.
EarthLink said in a statement that the
package marks the start of its EarthLink Everywhere service, which is designed to
provide subscribers with Internet access "no matter where they are -- through both
and wireless devices and appliances."
Atlanta-based EarthLink will charge subscribers $39.95 per month for unlimited
airtime over the BellSouth Corp. wireless data network and $399 for pagers from RIM, in
Waterloo, Ontario. EarthLink will also offer users a larger, personal digital
assistant-type device from RIM for $499.
Elliott Hamilton, an analyst at Strategis Group in Washington, said Earthlink's
entry into the wireless market indicates "that whether you are an ISP or a content
provider, you must have a wireless play. and the RIM Blackberry [pager] is popular and
successful." Wireless e-mail services provide greater utility for corporate users,
Hamilton said, since office e-mail can be easily forwarded to the Blackberry.
AOL launched its AOL Mobile Communicator service last month. It provides e-mail and
instant messaging to users of an AOL-branded RIM pager. AOL, in Dulles, Va., will sell
pagers for $329.95 and will charge $19.95 per month for the service, which also
operates over the BellSouth packet data network. AOL kicked off its instant messaging
service on the Sprint PCS network in October.
Yahoo, in Sunnyvale, Calif., started offering e-mail and instant messaging service
to RIM pager users earlier last month over a wireless data network operated by Motient
Corp. in Reston, Va. The Yahoo/Motient service charges $344 for the pager and $34.95
per month for airtime.