BlackBerry has received a pre-Christmas boost from operators after EE, O2, Vodafone and Three said they will be stocking the manufacturer's forthcoming BB10 devices.
EE revealed the new devices will include 4G handsets, the first time it has been confirmed that BlackBerry's BB10 phones will run on next generation networks. UK MD Rob Orr has talked up the benefits of next generation services before. Speaking to Mobile in October, he described the forthcoming 4G auction as 'awesome news for the UK economy and awesome news for UK consumers'.
Phones 4u also confirmed it would be selling the devices. Scott Hooton, Phones 4u chief commercial officer said: 'With our longstanding success at putting BlackBerry smartphones into the hands of the youth market, and historically selling more BlackBerry devices per store than any other retailer in Europe, we’re really excited about today’s announcement. A significant proportion of Phones 4u customers returning to our stores in Q1 next year will be BlackBerry customers looking to upgrade, and we’re thrilled that we’ll be able to offer our upgrade and new customers BlackBerry 10 devices. We believe that BlackBerry 10 is going to exceed all expectations and strengthen the brand’s position at the forefront of mobile technology.'
BT was another company to back the launch of BB10. David Benjamin, commercial director of BT Business, said: 'We’re delighted to announce that we intend to range the brand new BlackBerry 10 platform in early 2013. The BlackBerry brand is well-known and trusted among British business. BT Business provides an unrivalled range of business communications solutions to all sizes of business, so the ranging of BlackBerry 10 will further strengthen our offering.'
The new handsets are set to be revealed in a series of global events, including in London, on 30 January. Pricing and availability of the devices, which are expected to be one touchscreen and one featuring the traditional BlackBerry QWERTY keyboard, will be revealed after launch.
BB10 has been seen as a make or break product for BlackBerry. Its manufacturer Research in Motion has been unable to keep the pace with the smartphone revolution, with its market share declining sharply amid the rise of Apple and Samsung. Its founders left the business and it has reported heavy losses.
BB10 was originally due for launch this year but it was pushed back to the first quarter of 2013 to run further tests. However, Research in Motion has begun seeding devices out to operators for testing, as well as US enterprise customers.
Author: Graeme Neill