Nokia extended the beta test of its Mail on Ovi service on Monday, and is now offering the beta version worldwide in twelve languages. The company hopes the service will get mobile subscribers in emerging markets using e-mail on their phones.
Mail on Ovi allows users to create an account directly on a mobile phone running Nokia's Series 40 software, and start using it right away without the need for a PC, the company said.
The company has shipped more than 110 million Series 40 phones and lists 36 models that are compatible with service, including the 3600 slide, 5130 XpressMusic, 6300i and 6600.
The beta version is available in 12 languages including English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, Hindi, Bengali, Tagalog, Bahasa Indonesia and Bahasa Malaysia, Nokia said.
Nokia plans to offer a Web-based version of the service accessible from PCs in February, it said earlier this month.
The company sees mobile e-mail as a mass market; the goal is to reach the point where e-mail and instant messaging are as ubiquitous and easy to use as SMS (Short Message Service) is today, Nokia's director of software and services sales, Tom Farrell, said in a recent interview.
Mail on Ovi is one of two mobile e-mail services -- the second one is Nokia Messaging -- which Nokia is currently developing.
Nokia Mail on Ovi is more focused at emerging markets, and Messaging will predominantly be used in the developed world where users already have an e-mail address, Farrell said earlier this month.
"There are many, many consumers who for the first time will join the Internet on a Nokia device, and we want to give those people the opportunity to participate and join the digital economy, in a sense," said Farrell.
For Mail on Ovi to work the user needs a data connection.
Operators in emerging markets have had trouble getting their subscribers to start using data, but Mail on Ovi could help change that, according to Paolo Pescatore, analyst at CCS Insight.
The market reseach company described the service as Gmail for the next billion users, in a recent research note.
In the Philippines, where the beta version of Mail on Ovi has been available since November, users can get a data package allowing 40 hours' use for 799 Philippine pesos (US$16) from the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT), or an unlimited package for 1300 pesos. The average monthly wage in the Philippines in 2006 was about 10,600 pesos, according to the local National Statistical Coordination Board, which counts wage rates across selected occupations in non-agricultural industries to come up with that number.
More information on how to get started using Mail on Ovi is available at Nokia Beta Labs (http://www.nokia.com/betalabs/mailonovi)