Telstra has revealed it will transfer all 4.2 million BigPond mailboxes to a new service underpinned by Microsoft's cloud email platform, Windows Live.
The telco published an update on its website today stating it will phase out the existing BigPond Webmail and Myinbox services.
The company said it will migrate all BigPond and Telstra email accounts to the new Windows Live-based service "during 2012".
Although a Telstra spokesman initially told iTnews the email system and data will remain hosted in Australia, it has since been confirmed that email data will be stored overseas.
Existing customers would keep their email addresses, though may have to update passwords if they were less than eight characters in length.
"We'll make sure all your data is moved across to Windows Live. This includes Mail, Contacts and Calendar," Telstra said.
The carrier's executive director of media, applications and user experience, J-B Rousselot, said in a statement obtained by iTnews that customers "told us they wanted more from their email service, but they only wanted improvements if they could keep their email address."
"New BigPond email customers will receive the Windows Live service while existing customers will be contacted over the course of the year with instructions on how to being the migration process." Rousselot said.
New customer sign-ups and those who requested additional mailboxes will immediately be placed onto the new platform.
Telstra had been considering the platform shift to Windows Live as early as December 2010.
A spokesman told Delimiter at the time that it was just one option under consideration.
Telstra's spokesman declined to put a value on the deal it has signed with Microsoft. "We don't disclose commercial arrangements," he said.