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Malaysian carrier aiming for consumers with BlackBerry 8300 launch


Malaysia launchMaxis announced yesterday their release of the BlackBerry 8300 in Malaysia, while making their intention of closing the enterprise-consumer gap loud and clear. Right now, Malaysia has a 70/30 split in terms of business and personal BlackBerry sales, but they hope the Curve will help change that.

“As BlackBerry usage in Malaysia continues to climb, we are making the powerful device accessible and affordable to people with an entry-level package for the BlackBerry Internet Solution at RM20 per month,” [Chief operating officer Jon Eddy Abdullah] said at the launch of the smartphone Monday. … “We believe the consumer potential for e-mail services is largely untapped and this package is designed specifically for the consumer looking for wireless e-mail connectivity,“ he added.

We were just talking yesterday about how integral e-mail was to the enterprise customer, but how vital is it to consumers? If e-mail wasn’t a part of your job, would you still check it every day, let alone constantly through a handheld? Retail cost for Maxis’ BlackBerry 8300 is RM1,999, or $US 570.

Maxis press release behind the jump.

High turnover in emerging wireless markets


TurnoverWhile we might be looking to emerging markets in China, India and Africa as the reason why so many people are packing mobiles these days, the market may not be as much of a wireless promised land as they had been made out to be. Strategy Analytics has reported today that the global subscriber churn rate has risen for the ninth quarter in a row to 2.5% in Q1 2007. North America and Europe are pretty stable on this front, but Reliance disconnected 6 million customers last quarter, and Malaysian carriers had to disconnect about 20% of their subscribers in an effort to register all accounts. The big reason for such drastic measures is the prepaid nature of mobile business in these markets.

David Kerr, Vice President, Global Wireless Practice, adds, “The increase in churn highlights the challenge of managing subscriber growth in many prepaid-centric emerging markets. In these markets, where new connections involve simply placing a new SIM card into one’s existing handset, competitive activity is having an increasingly detrimental impact on subscriber behavior and churn levels.”

As much as we might moan about being locked into plans for years on end, it certainly makes for a more stable industry.