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Getting E-Mail on Your Phone

To get your e-mail on an Internet-ready phone, you have to pick the right wireless carrier. First, make sure that your carrier supports the protocol used by the e-mail account your ISP gives you. Most major wireless carriers support POP3 (Post Office Protocol 3), though Verizon supports only IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol).

Even if your business's e-mail system supports the same protocol as your wireless carrier, consult your IS department. Though both Microsoft Exchange and IBM Lotus Domino servers support POP3 and IMAP, your company's virtual private network requirements or firewall settings could stymie access.

For accessing your Web mail, choose a wireless carrier that offers a microbrowser version. All five carriers listed in the chart below offer AOL Mail, and most provide MSN Hotmail or Yahoo Mail.

Also, beware of charges: With Cingular's $3-per-month plan, for example, you'll pay 2 cents per kilobyte of transmitted data. Nextel, Sprint PCS, and T-Mobile offer plans with unlimited usage.

Where Wireless E-Mail Can Go

Check for the proper protocol--and for extra charges.

Cingular--$3 per month and up (plus 2 cents per KB)

  • AOL Mail, MSN Hotmail, Yahoo Mail
  • Supports POP3
  • Nextel--$15 per month (unlimited usage)

  • AOL Mail, MSN Hotmail
  • Supports POP3
  • Sprint PCS--$15 per month (unlimited usage)

  • AOL Mail, MSN Hotmail, Yahoo Mail
  • Supports IMAP, POP3
  • T-Mobile--$5 per month and up (unlimited usage)

  • AOL Mail, Yahoo Mail Plus
  • Supports IMAP, POP3
  • Verizon--$5 per month and up (plus minutes charges)

  • AOL Mail, MSN Hotmail, Yahoo Mail
  • Supports IMAP
  • Eric Butterfield

    Kevin Savetz is a freelance technology writer who has written for more than 80 publications. Eric Butterfield is an associate editor for PC World.
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