RIM are making some great headway in Venezuela, and BlackBerry is the top selling smartphone in Latin America. In Q3 of 2009, BlackBerry accounted for 37% of smartphone shipments to Latin America, according to IDC. This is up from 14% the year previous.
What seems to be driving the growth, particularly in Venezuela, is the popularity of BlackBerry Messenger and the platform’s security. According to Douglas Ochoa, the VP of communications at Telefonica Venezuela, “Venezuelans are, how can you say it, mistrustful. So they’re looking for a way to communicate, to be connected, in a very secure way, and I think Blackberry has done that.”
Since BlackBerry was first introduced in Venezuela, sales have increased more than 100% per trimester, and the device, which costs anywhere from VEB869 (US$200) to VEB6,579 (US$1,530), depending on the model, has become a status symbol.