IM added to BT Business Email

Telco's SME-oriented hosted email service gains instant-messaging capabilities in a step on the road towards unified communications

Instant messaging has been added to BT's email package for SMEs, the telco announced on Thursday.

BT's Business Email package, which costs £7.50 (excluding VAT) per mailbox per month, is a hosted service that includes shared calendar and address-book functionality. BT claims that the addition of IM to the package will help its customers unify their various forms of communication.

"Up until now, businesses have tended to use free consumer IM services, unless they are large enough to invest in their own systems," said Bill Murphy, the managing director of BT Business. "What we're doing is allowing even the smallest company to take advantage of secure, business-grade IM to help increase the speed of response and drive efficiencies, whilst letting them take a first step on the road to unified communications."

Companies signing up to BT's Business Email package will also currently receive a free download of Microsoft's Outlook 2007 personal information-management software.