Vodafone has teamed up with Microsoft to develop a service that will give workers access to their email and intranet services via Wap phones and other mobile devices.
The pilot scheme, similar to one launched by BT Cellnet last October, will offer participants access to Microsoft Outlook email, Microsoft Exchange calendar and contacts, and intranet content.
Vodafone plans to launch the service in the UK in spring 2001, then worldwide later in the year.
Microsoft will conduct the trial using mobile phones running its Mobile Explorer platform, which lets users browse both Wap and HTML content. The trial will be restricted to Wap browsing.
Dilip Mistry, mobile solutions marketing manager at Microsoft Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said the service would be extended to other mobile devices such as PocketPC-based palm-sized computers. He also said it would provide access to non-Microsoft applications, such as Lotus Notes.
"Microsoft's strategy is to let users access their information on a number of devices. Our strategy is not purely Microsoft [platform] dependent," said Mistry.
The trial will use Sony and Benefon phones equipped with Mobile Explorer. Last December Microsoft announced a partnership with Ericsson to develop phones designed for this exact purpose, but they will not be used in this trial. "That deal is bubbling along," said Mistry.
A Vodafone spokeswoman confirmed that the service would be available on all Wap-enabled handsets. She also confirmed that the service is likely to be the first available on Vodafone's GPRS high-speed mobile data service, when it launches at the end of the year.
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