Aliant Telecom Mobility announced Monday it is casting its VoiceNet voice recognition e-mail technology over Atlantic Canada.

The service allows Aliant wireless users to configure an existing POP3 e-mail account to listen to, forward and respond to e-mail messages over a digital cell phone using voice commands.

The service uses a “friendly voice” to read messages and content in English or French via speech recognition and text-to-speech technologies, said Frank Fagan, president of Halifax-based Aliant Telecom Mobility in a prepared statement.

Fagan pointed out that VoiceNet is a hands-free way to use a cell phone while driving.

The user enters the recipient’s name in his or her address book so that later the customer can speak an assigned nickname to send an e-mail, Aliant said. To send a message, the customer’s voice is recorded and an audio file is attached to the e-mail message.

Pricing will be $5 per month plus airtime, Aliant said.

Uptake on voice recognition e-mail technology is sustainable, particularly in the business market, said Jeremy Depow, senior analyst for Kanata, Ont.-based research firm The Yankee Group Canada.

It’s neat technology when it actually works, Depow said.

Niggling issues over the next-gen technology – such as the need for a clear wireless reception and strong speech recognition capabilities- have largely been ironed out, Depow said, adding that other vendors (including companies like Markham, Ont.-based Avaya Canada Corp. and Lucent Technologies Canada) are also providing this functionality to customers.

It’s becoming a ‘nice-to-have,’ Depow said.

A demo of Aliant Telecom’s VoiceNet service can be found at

Aliant Telecom Mobility in Halifax is at