BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS) is an email and synchronization service provided by RIM for BlackBerry users. BIS was created for BlackBerry users without an enterprise email account on a BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES). BIS allows you to retrieve email from multiple POP3, IMAP, and Outlook Web App (OWA) on your BlackBerry, and synchronize your contacts, calendar, and deleted items from some email providers.
New BIS Account
When you buy your first BlackBerry device with any wireless carrier, the device will come with instructions for setting up a BIS account and a BlackBerry email address. The instructions differ from carrier to carrier, so you will need to consult your documentation to create your account.
BlackBerry Email Address
Once you create your BIS account, you will be prompted to add email addresses, and you will also have the opportunity to create a BlackBerry email address. A BlackBerry email address is specific to your BlackBerry. If you are an AT&T subscriber, your BlackBerry address would be email@example.com. Email sent to your BlackBerry email address goes directly to the device, so you should be selective about where you use it and who you give it to.
Add Additional Email Accounts
You can add up to 10 email addresses to your BIS account (in addition to the BlackBerry email account), and BIS will send email from those accounts to your BlackBerry. For some providers like Gmail, email is delivered using RIM's Push technology, and will be delivered very promptly. After you've added an email account, you will receive an Activation Server email from the BIS on your device, which informs you that you will start receiving email on your BlackBerry in 20 minutes. You may also receive an email about a Security Activation. Follow the instructions provided in the email to activate the email account on the BIS.
More Than Just Email
RIM has been adding synchronization features to BIS in the past few releases. If you are a Gmail user, you can synchronize your deleted items, contacts, and calendar. Hotmail and Yahoo! Mail users can synchronize their contacts.
Move Accounts From BlackBerry to BlackBerry
In the event that you lose or damage your BlackBerry, RIM has made it extremely easy to transfer your settings. You can log into your carrier's BIS website (refer to the documentation that came with your BlackBerry), and click on the Change Device link under Settings. Follow the instructions to Detect New Device. The BIS will transfer all of your email account information to your new device, and in a few minutes your email will be up and running.
If you cannot afford a hosted BES account, or if your company does not host a BES, the BlackBerry Internet Service is a very capable substitute. It does not provide the same level of security that you will find on a BES, but you will be able to receive email, and synchronize your contacts and calendar.