Retailers: you have PocketMail!

Retailers: you have PocketMail!

Mobile messaging provider PocketMail Group (PMG) is set to hit the ground running following the announcement of partnerships with 13 major Australian retailers.

The cluster comprises more than 1400 outlets nation- ally, which represents a remarkable achievement for a new product to be launched onto the mainstream market.

PocketMail is described as a mobile e-mail service that enables subscribers to send and receive e-mail, fast and reliably, from almost anywhere in the world using a special PocketMail device.

From March 6, the PocketMail device will be avail- able though OfficeWorks, Strathfield Group, Betta Stores, Harvey Norman/Domayne, Retravision, Leading Edge (Telecommunications), Dick Smith Electronics/Power House, Vox Group, Muirs/Good Buys, Myers, Mobiltronics, selected Telstra Shops and Napf Group.

David Marchant, CEO of PMG, described it as leveraging the expertise of leading retailers in consumer electronics. `By leveraging that expertise, we are well positioned to dominate affordable mobile messaging and information services in Australia,' he claimed.

For the retailers, there is no activation procedure as there is for mobile phones. After buying the device, customers will activate it and establish the billing arrangements themselves either via the PocketMail Web site or by phone.

The distribution arrangements were outsourced to marketing and distribution company Energy Appliances Australia which, according to marketing director, Bill Field, has put a team together to represent PocketMail to its new retail channel. He described the channel as divided into three sectors, the consumer retail, telecommunication resellers, and corporate, the latter reported to be a growing business segment within major retailers. `We understand the coal face of this market,' Field claimed. He said that as well as administration staff, there are 15 sales promotion representatives supporting the new channel.

Because of the sensitivity to the potential impact on its share price, the company is not willing to reveal projected sales, but information in the prospectus includes an initial capacity for 100,000 subscribers.

PMG director Harold Graycar was happy to talk about the potential market for the device and service. He said that one of the primary target markets is business people who will benefit from having access to e-mail. `It's one of the reasons that between 50 and 70 per cent of business people carry a laptop.'

The effect that PocketMail has on notebook computer sales remains to be seen but at $249 plus $15 per month it presents an alternative means of accessing e-mail. It also represents another example of the converging communication, office technology and IT channels, though with the benefit of hindsight.

PocketMail is described as a mobile e-mail service that enables subscribers to send and receive e-mail, fast and reliably, from almost anywhere in the world using a PocketMail device.

The PocketMail Backflip for the Palm computer carries a $199 retail price, and the Oregon Scientific PM-32 will cost $249. The PocketMail service will be available from $15 a month.

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