I have a Pearl with Centennial wireless here in the midwestern US. I have a standard dataplan, not blackberry services. I use Opera Mini which works great, except I cannot download OTA. As for email Gmail app works fine. look around there is a link for desktop download somewhere on here. I prefer an app called flurry, its a free service that you can add multiple accounts to but it does not have timed mail checking like a pop application. However on the website you set up your accounts and filters and you can set flurry to notify you via SMS when you have mail. They don't list blackberrys as being supported but I downloaded the generic J2ME app and it works great. Create an account at flurry
and then go to this forum link to download the .jad & .jar files for desktop installation. Flurry Forum :: View topic - How do I install flurry on my phone?