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Cingular to begin selling Good service

Cingular Wireless will begin directly selling Good Technology's wireless e-mail service for the first time.
/ Source: Reuters

Cingular Wireless, the No. 1 U.S. mobile phone service provider, will begin directly selling Good Technology's wireless e-mail service for the first time, the companies said Tuesday.

Closely held Good said it believes the agreement will help it win more wireless e-mail users, a sector currently dominated by BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd.

Under a previous co-selling agreement, Good Technology customers had to sign separate contracts with the company and Cingular.

Going forward, they will only need to sign a single contract with Cingular's sales force, which is the same way Cingular sells RIM's BlackBerry e-mail device and service.

Cingular Wireless, a joint venture between SBC Communications Inc. and BellSouth Corp., is the largest U.S. wireless carrier, with more than 50 million customers.

Cingular Wireless executive Michael Woodward said the company is very pleased with RIM, but wanted to offer greater choice to its business and large organization customers.

"What we heard our customers saying was that they were looking for some choice, a little bit of flexibility," Woodward said.

"We're now bringing this fully into our portfolio just as we have done with RIM. That means that we not only sell the product directly, it also means that we support it."

The service will be available over certain palmOne Inc. and Windows Mobile devices, including palmOne's Treo 650.

Good Technology chief executive Danny Shader declined to forecast how many customers it expects to win from the deal. But he noted Good had more than 5,000 companies and large organizations using its device at the end of April. He declined to give subscriber figures.

Waterloo, Ontario-based RIM passed the 3 million subscriber mark for its e-mail service earlier this month. Almost all of its subscribers use its BlackBerry handheld, which is known for its distinctive thumb-operated keyboard and doubles as a phone. RIM has signed deals to offer its e-mail service on other devices.

Shader said Good is focused on its agreement with Cingular, but similar deals with other mobile phone companies are possible.

He also declined to comment on whether the Santa Clara, California-based firm is content to remain closely held.

"We're very focused on growing the business. We have obviously a number of different financing options available to us. Being public is certainly one of them, but I think the most important thing for us to do is grow the business," he said.