Cingular has started offering a mobile email and IM application to consumers, simplifying the configuration process and looking to make mobile messaging more popular with general consumers. The application is initially available for a handful of Motorola handsets, but support for more devices will be added soon. Pretty much all of the devices already have a pre-installed email client, and others already support IM, but the idea is to make the setup much easier. Users of popular Web email and IM systems can just enter their user name and password and check their email, versus having to enter servers and other information on other clients. It's similar to functionality Sprint has offered for some time, and reflects the growing trend by carriers and device manufacturers to expand the use of mobile email to the mass market and beyond corporate users. The Cingular application is free, and the carrier hopes it will boost data usage. BlackBerry users give an ARPU bump, if nothing else, from the data plans they must subscribe to; if Cingular and other carriers can get even $5 or $10 a month from a large number of consumers that didn't use any data services, it would deliver a healthy revenue gain.
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