'

MCI revs outsourced mail service

MCI WorldCom Inc. next week will go after the estimated 40 percent of enterprise customers that would rather outsource their messaging systems than manage them internally.

MCI WorldCom Inc. next week will go after the estimated 40 percent of enterprise customers that would rather outsource their messaging systems than manage them internally.

The company will launch on Monday its MCI WorldCom Managed Email service for medium to large businesses.

With its messaging platform partner Critical Path Inc., MCI WorldCom will offer a range of managed e-mail options. Services include managing customers' Web e-mail, providing messaging services to internally managed mail servers, and fully hosted Microsoft Exchange messaging and collaboration.

Monthly fees for the offerings will range from $2 per user for basic Web mailboxes at the low end to as much as $22 per user for a fully hosted Exchange service with help desk support, said MCI WorldCom officials in Jackson, Miss.

The MCI WorldCom Managed Email offering can be combined with other communications services from the carrier for larger volume discounts, and the messaging services will be compatible with services from MCI WorldCom units UUNet and SkyTel, officials said. "Our larger customers are going to see some really nice discounts" based on overall volume with MCI WorldCom, said Angie Holmes, senior manager of messaging services at the carrier.

In creating the service, MCI WorldCom chose to work with Critical Path, of San Francisco, rather than internally develop and operate a managed messaging service on its own, officials said.

Critical Path will support the managed e-mail service from its three U.S. data centers, as well as from a handful of overseas centers for customers with international operations. The Microsoft Exchange portion of the service, currently based on Exchange 5.5, will be provided from Critical Path's Sunnyvale, Calif., data center and will run on Windows NT servers.

The remaining portions of the service will be Unix-based and will run on Sun Microsystems Inc. platforms out of Critical Path's data centers in San Francisco and northern Virginia, said officials.

With the service, customers will have the choice of messaging options including Web e-mail, POP (post office protocol) 3 mail, IMAP (Internet Messaging Access Protocol) 4 mail and hosted Exchange messaging.

Enhanced features available with the service will include custom domain names, blocking of unsolicited bulk e-mail, virus scanning, content filters, distribution lists and delivery to non-e-mail devices, officials at the two companies said.