China Telecom has rolled out four monthly BlackBerry packages ranging in price from 189 yuan ($27.87 USD) to 589 yuan ($86.8732 USD) per month. This marks another milestone in a greater rollout strategy of bringing the BlackBerry solution to China. The big announcement we’re waiting for is full App World support in China which will hopefully give the app economy a boost.
Tag: china telecom
A while back we heard that RIM would be entering the Chinese market but in a strange move, RIM has decided to launch with BES and the BlackBerry Storm. China is a pretty crucial market considering its size, and you would think RIM would want to launch with an affordable and reliable device such as the Curve 8520, but instead they’ve gone with a device with one of the worst brand reputations in RIM’s hardware history. Forget about what you think of the Storm (some love, some hate), it’s still a curious decision.
If I had to guess, it probably has something to do with beating Apple in the Chinese touchscreen market. There is probably a lot of market research that says Chinese consumers are looking for more touchscreen smartphones, and RIM has decided they’ll be the ones to serve the demand. Personally, I think this is going to result in a lot of dissatisfied users, and if you’re going to pioneer a new market, why not choose a device such as the Bold and Curve, which carries a solid brand and reputation.
During the Q3 Fiscal 2010 Conference Call, Jim Balsillie announced a partnership with China Telecom to distribute BlackBerry across China. China Telecom is the 3rd largest mobile provider in the People’s Republic of China. The network supports 3G and has over 43 million mobile subscribers. This is a huge distribution deal for RIM and it’s crucial for their growth in China. More details and a launch plan to come.
First of all, I’d like to introduce the mobile operators in China. As you may know, there are now three mobile operators in mainland China. The biggest is China Mobile, which owns TD-SCDMA found in UMTS networks in China. China Unicom is another, and it owns WCDMA and has recently launched the iPhone. The third is China telecom which owns CDMA2000.
BlackBerry is just beginning to become popular in China but there are still some major barriers. Many of my friends use a BlackBerry, but RIM has not established any retail outlets or simple means to buy their devices. Most of us get our Blackberry phones as smuggled goods or from friends abroad. China Mobile now offers BES (BlackBerry Enterprise Server) with the Blackberry 8700, but it comes at a very high price, about 398 RMB- 598 RMB/month ($60 to $85 USD). This is all going to change very soon. The latest news is that China Telecom have announced BIS support, and they are going to be shipping the BlackBerry Storm and Tour in the near future. China Mobile are also rumored to be releasing the BlackBerry Curve 8900 and Bold2 (not sure) soon. We have also heard from an official at China Unicom, who has confirmed they are in talks with RIM, so we will hopefully see some BlackBerry devices from them as well. Overall, China is going to see a big surge in devices around all of mainland China.
Continue reading about BlackBerry in China and what RIM can do to succeed
China Telecom is reportedly in “preliminary contacts” with RIM to distribute BlackBerry devices in China. China Telecom is China’s largest fixed-line operator by subscribers.
While getting a device sold in China is a very lucrative prospect due to the vast population size of China, it may turn out to be more work than it’s worth. Some analysts are saying that the BlackBerry represents just “another handset choice,” which shouldn’t have much positive impact on China Telecom’s mobile operation. Another factor to consider is whether the BlackBerry device is a cultural fit for the Chinese.
Marvin Lo, a Daiwa Securities analyst, says the Chinese prefer short SMS communication, and a mobile email platform isn’t their preferred means of communication. “Indeed local Chinese prefer short-message service, or SMS, to email as a way of communications,” he said. “I don’t think this data-oriented device can be a big hit in China.”
I’m hoping it will be a success for RIM because the Asia Pacific market could transform RIM into a truly global organization.