3/18/2009 11:39:00 AM
Ex-Vodafone chief technology officer arrives at RIM and guns for prepay
BlackBerry manufacturer RIM is laying out plans to take its email devices into the prepay market, later in 2009.
The strategy will be a central objective for its new managing director for Europe, Middle East and Africa, Chris Burke.
He joined in January, following the departure of Charmaine Eggberry in ?August 2008.
Burke will look after all aspects of RIM’s operation in the region, working with networks, retailers and distributors, and will be based at its offices in Slough.
He joins from Vodafone UK where he was the chief technology officer. Burke has had a career spanning 24 years in the telecoms industry.
RIM is understood to still be looking for a replacement for James Hart – its previous marketing chief across the Europe, Middle East and Africa region, who left last year.
The manufacturer wants a bigger presence in Carphone Warehouse and Phones 4u, as well as reaching into the likes of Tesco and Argos.
RIM is expected to use the increase in operators’ flat rate, prepay data tariffs as the springboard to take BlackBerry out of the corporate arena and into a younger, more consumer-orientated profile.
Both the 8220 Flip (pictured) and 8900 Javelin are expected to undergo a series of price cuts in 2009, culminating in aggressive prepay deals, varying between £129 and £179, in the run-up to Christmas.
The BlackBerry Pearl has already been on sale at Orange for £149 since January.
The devices will be pushed as operator stock into those retailers, but, crucially, will also be ‘Sim-paired’ by Brightpoint and 20:20 Mobile, RIM’s two UK distributors.
The manufacturer wants its BlackBerry devices to hit the mainstream, taking email to the mass market, and to also be known for its other mobile applications.
RIM was unable to comment.