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T-Mobile launches consumer push email

Operator also reveals social-networking plans

T-Mobile is to extend its push email services to consumers, in addition to launching a number of new ‘community’ services.

The consumer push email service, which follows T-Mobile’s current business-focused alternative, was one of several announcements T-Mobile chief executive Hamid Akhavan made during a news conference at the 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona yesterday.

"We plan a new service that will push email to consumers; this could become a very huge market," Akhavan said.

As T-Mobile rolls out new social-networking services such as myFaves in the US, the operator also plans new ‘community’ pricing plans. With myFaves, for instance, customers can establish a community of up to five people who receive a discounted rate for voice calls, text message and more.

User-generated content, such as photos and videos, is another social-networking service already generating lots of buzz, according to Akhavan.

"It's still early days for social-networking services over mobile networks but they will drive growth," he said. "I believe the mobile internet will have a bigger impact than the internet itself."

The company is also looking at the new Windows Mobile 6.0. "I don't know yet if our Windows Mobile 5.0 handsets can support 6.0," he said. "If so and if we can use our website to allow customers to download the new operating system, then maybe this will be a possibility. I guess the answer is if we can upgrade easily, then yes."

T-Mobile meanwhile lowered international roaming fees by 20 percent last year, with further reductions in the pipeline. Because roaming isn't a unilateral business, partner operators will also need to agree to changes, Akhavan said.

Enterprises have been lobbying the European Commission for years to pressure European mobile operators into lowering roaming fees.

T-Mobile is moving ahead on its 3G rollout in the US, according to Akhavan. He handed the microphone to Ray Nevelle, in charge of the US deployment, who said US customers can expect 3G service this year.

Akhavan said he wasn't concerned about the threat of municipality Wi-Fi networks. Users want quality service "which requires networking expertise - this is something municipalities don't have," he said. "Governments, you may recall, used to run telecom networks and then decided to get out of that business."

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