8/5/2009 12:53:00 PM
Grey trading arrives on BlackBerrys for the first time in Europe
BlackBerry manufacturer RIM has reminded its official UK distributors and retailers that they are not allowed to export UK stock.
The move comes as RIM has encountered high levels of grey market trading for the first time in Europe in recent months.
20:20 Mobile, Brightstar, Brightpoint and even Carphone Warehouse are understood to have been told to be vigilant over who they sell to.
Demands for the 8900 Curve and 9000 Bold have come from all over the Middle East, Africa and even parts of America due to low stock levels in other markets, and the fluctuating value of the British pound.
A spokesperson said: ‘BlackBerry products are distributed in more than 165 countries and RIM works closely with its authorised carrier and indirect distribution partners to provide customers with the best possible pre-sale and post-sale experience.’
There has also been a spike in BlackBerry imports to the UK in recent weeks as the pound has risen against the US dollar.
RIM is understood to have greater capability to identify grey market trading compared with other manufacturers, due to its email application.
Network operators pay RIM for the use of its server for mobile email, so the manufacturer has a system called ‘Pin First Seen’, which is an immediate signal that a BlackBerry device is being used on a certain network.
RIM is able to correlate the network with the IMEI, and as such can spot if a phone sold to a UK distributor or retailer is being used in another country.
One senior distribution source said: ‘RIM can see where kit is being sold because it is able to identify host networks.’
UK distributors, retailers and operators are having to go through RIM’s management in Canada as it looks for a replacement to former European VP Chris Burke, who left in May.