Venezuela’s Movilnet, a subsidiary of fixed line incumbent CANTV, has become the country’s first mobile operator to launch the BlackBerry wireless platform. Movilnet partnered Canadian manufacturer Research In Motion (RIM) to launch the service which allows access to e-mail, instant messaging, wireless internet connections and corporate networks. BlackBerry handheld devices are available to users of Movilnet’s CDMA2000 1x and EV-DO networks, and the company is offering two packages, one targeting corporate clients and the other for residential subscribers and SMEs. For corporates, the BlackBerry Enterprise Server package operates with Microsoft Exchange, IBM Lotus Domino and Novell GroupWise to provide secure, push-based wireless access to e-mail and other corporate data. For consumers and SMEs, BlackBerry Internet Service allows access to up to ten e-mail accounts from a single device, integrating with Microsoft Exchange, IBM Lotus Domino and most ISPs.
Movilnet is currently in second place in the Venezuelan mobile market, with 5.587 million subscribers at the end of March 2006, according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database. Market leader Movistar had 6.03 million subscribers at the same date, whilst third placed Digitel had over 1.5 million. A total of over 16 million users is expected by the end of the year, according to local newspapers quoting Luis Malvido, president of Movistar, up from 12.41 million at the end of 2005 (cellular penetration of 47.5%).