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Mobile email usage is to grow by 35 per cent over the next 18 months among European businesses already using mobile phones, according to Nokia.

For its "Dawn of the Mobile Enterprise" study, Nokia said it polled thousands of European SMEs that have mobile workers, or workers that work outside the office for at least a portion of the week. In addition to email, 19 per cent of businesses surveyed said they would use mobile terminals to connect their employees to company information systems, such as databases and intranets. This represents a growth rate of 202 percent compared to current figures, Nokia said.

"With more and more workers spending time out of the office, being able to do more business on the move becomes a fundamental productivity requirement and a source of competitive edge," said Niklas Savander, senior vice president, business applications, Nokia Mobile Phones.

However, not all are prepared to take Nokia's results at face value. "It's easy for 19 per cent of people in a survey to say 'yeah I want to use it.' But actually deploying it is a different story," commented Simon Buckingham, CEO of telecoms consultancy Mobile Streams. He said Nokia over-exaggerated the size of the market, but 10 percent would be a good achievement for the industry.

Nokia's main selling point is the massive gains in productivity and efficiency it says companies will make by integrating mobile technologies into their infrastructure. It has created a new business group, Nokia Enterprise Solutions, to deal with this anticipated business. The group is to supply a range of handsets, as well as security and mobile connectivity solutions.

Buckingham emphasised that while telecommunications divisions within companies might think remote access for employees via mobile phones is a good idea, IT departments are strongly opposed to it on security grounds. He added that security concerns are causing a lot of inertia in the field of corporate mobile data. "There are more issues at play, and I think it's never going to be more than a niche market," he said.

© ENN

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