The number of mobilized email accounts is expected to explode over the next three years and mobile operators are in a position to make the most of this anticipated upsurge in growth. Furthermore, as differentiation becomes more difficult, pricing and partnerships will become key factors in achieving growth.
There are roughly 650 million corporate email inboxes worldwide today. Based on the assumption that at least 35-40% of these inboxes could potentially be mobilized, the global addressable market for enterprise mobile email is estimated at around 260 million subscriptions.
Mobile email is the next logical step in the evolution of mobile communications. The market is set to show rapid growth over the next five years, and provide significant opportunities for mobile operators and mobile infrastructure providers. Push email technology is relatively mature, and mobile operators are fully backing the deployment of mobile email solutions.
Growth in the enterprise mobile email market is expected to come from two concurrent trends: an increase in the breadth of deployment, where enterprises that have already deployed mobile email would increase the number of employees who have mobile email access; and an increase in penetration.
In a recent Datamonitor survey, 50% of the European enterprises interviewed indicated that they have already deployed mobile email solutions. Mobile personal information management (PIM) lagged behind slightly, with 34% of respondents saying they had already deployed a mobile PIM solution.
This is a notable increase compared to the results of a similar survey conducted in 2004, where mobile email penetration was at 39% and mobile PIM penetration was at 28%.
Another interesting trend in the survey was an even steeper increase in the number of respondents saying they plan to deploy mobile email and mobile PIM over the next 12 months.
Global mobile operators’ revenues from enterprise mobile email and PIM alone are expected to surpass $600 million by 2009 – over three times those of 2005.
Mobile operators have every interest in rolling out mobile email solutions to their networks. They see mobile email as an indispensable element in their competitive strategy. It will allow them to use excess bandwidth on their networks, especially after their 2.5G/3G network upgrades, reduce subscriber churn, and eventually become a major source of revenue further down the line.
Mobile email infrastructure providers’ revenues will continue to grow, albeit at a much slower rate than operators’ revenues, due to operators’ increasing dominance in the value chain. Despite its slower growth, the outlook for this segment of the market remains positive.
Mobile email solution providers will need to forge stable, long-term partnerships with mobile operators, device manufacturers, mobile operating system vendors, and systems integrators. This will have several benefits to their businesses, and will allow them to exploit all possible sales channels. Partnerships allow for more product innovation, and would make it significantly easier to achieve compatibility with the widest possible range of devices and mobile operating systems.
Mobile email is on the verge of mass market adoption, and the number of mobilized email accounts will explode over the next three years. As differentiation becomes more difficult, pricing and partnerships will become key factors in achieving growth.