ViAir Wins AT&T, SmarTone Deals
Wireless email software vendor ViAir Inc. today announced deals with AT&T Wireless Services Inc. (NYSE: AWE) and SmarTone Mobile Communications Ltd. (SEHK: 0315) and told Unstrung that it rightfully belongs on our forthcoming Top 25 Private Companies list.
"There's no business reason why we shouldn't be on the list," says ViAir CEO Bruce Chatterley.
ViAir, he says, is one of the only companies in the emerging wireless email market that can actually show carriers demonstrable increases in average revenue per user (ARPU) from installing their system.
"We generate between 10 and 15 dollars of incremental ARPU per month," Chatterley says.
Security is a major issue for wireless email users, especially enterprise users, and Chatterley has issues with the way major rival Seven Networks Inc. (the company that would likely be bumped to make room for ViAir on the Unstrung list) handles itself in this department.
The Seven software, he says, sends a user's credentials to the carrier's network when initially setting up a new subscriber on the system. This is fundamentally insecure, he argues.
In contrast, Chatterley says, the ViAir software uses the carrier network credentials to set up the subscriber account. "That way, if they [hackers] crack the carrier network, they only get your email, not your company network credentials."
AT&T Wireless and SmarTone are using ViAir's Wireless Inbox software to offer users access to Notes, Exchange, and Web-based email on their phones. Hong-Kong-based SmarTone says the service is available now. AT&T is initially rolling its Office Online service in the 25 cities in the U.S. where it has GPRS networks up and running. AT&T is pricing the service at $2.99 a month.
Chatterley predicts that soon there will be more people using ViAir's wireless email software than there are using Research In Motion Ltd. (RIM)'s well established BlackBerry system.
"We will pass RIM's Blackberry subs in the next quarter or two," he says. "Depends on how fast they [RIM] grow. They're not growing very fast at the moment."
So what do you think, Dear Readers? Should we bump Seven to make room for ViAir? Let us know by clicking below to "Discuss this story."
— Dan Jones, Senior Editor, Unstrung