OAO Mobile TeleSystems, Russia’s largest mobile operator, plans to begin selling BlackBerry phones to individuals in the country within two weeks as communications companies compete for wealthy customers.
Mobile TeleSystems, already offers BlackBerry to corporate users, but is looking to attract a consumer base. The company aims to attract about 3,000 retail clients in Russia this year. The operator has about 3,800 retail customers in Ukraine, after starting to offer BlackBerry service to individuals in June.
Although the Russian economy is feeling the recession like anywhere else in the world, I know BlackBerry will be a hit there. Not only is it a status symbol, which will make it a hit among consumers, but it is an essential tool for enterprise. This is why RIM is seeing a 50/50 split in their sales.
One thing to watch out for: The Federal Security Service has access to consumer emails and data whereas the corporate version is offered on encrypted channels. The quality will not be affected but if you’re a strong supporter of Gary Kasparov, better save your mass emails for when you get home.
[ED NOTE: Yes, I know Putin is no longer in power. Or is he? *wink*]