Why doesn’t the BlackBerry 8820 have SIP support?

BlackBerry 8820Forget all this noise on the Internet about security concerns with the BlackBerry 8820’s Wi-Fi capabilities — RIM would never have released the device unless it was airtight (also, where were these concerns when they released the forlorn BlackBerry 7270?). However, a recent article by ITweek raises a far more interesting issue: the BlackBerry 8820’s lack of Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) support, commonly used to link with a corporate IP PBX or messaging server. RIM instead chose to support the Unlicensed Mobile Access (UMA) IP telephony protocol, which is designed to link a handset back to a mobile carrier’s network.

We must first look to how the BlackBerry 8820’s lack of SIP support jives with RIM’s hyping of voice services at WES 2007. If you remember, RIM co-CEO’s Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis spent a lot of time talking about how they were going to eliminate the need for a desktop phone and do for voice what the BlackBerry did for email. If we are to take ITweek at face value that a lack of SIP support will really deter enterprises from adopting the BlackBerry 8820 as a desktop phone replacement, then what’s going on in Waterloo?

There are three partial answers to this question. The first lies in UMA, which is favored by carriers. Paying close attention to what Balsillie and others have said in the past, it’s obvious that RIM would choose to support the protocol most amenable to carriers, because RIM needs to keep carriers happy to succeed; the carriers want to control enterprise BlackBerry Wi-Fi use, and therefore UMA is supported. The only surprising bit here is why the BlackBerry 8820 isn’t coming to T-Mobile first rather than AT&T, considering their penchant for UMA.

The second lies in the timing of the BlackBerry 8820 launch in relation to RIM’s WES announcements. We’ve been told by those in the know that BlackBerry hardware is complete about 3-6 months before a device is released (the rest of the time is used for testing and bug fixes). Following that timeline, the BlackBerry 8820 was essentially done around or sometime before WES, meaning that Mikey and Jim Dog might not have been referring to the BlackBerry 8820 when they were talking about future voice solutions, but rather another device to follow later this year.

This makes sense when taking in conjunction with statements made by David Heit, Director of Software Product Management for Enterprise Solutions for RIM, in an article by eWeek.

Heit noted that while work has begun on making sure that all PBX equipment would be supported by the MVS solution, there is still a long way to go. “In the PBX world there are at least 10 major vendors,” Heit said. “The vast bulk of the market are using TDM [time-division multiplexing] PBXes. They’re talking about moving to IP. Some are moving directly to IP and SIP [Session Initiation Protocol]-based PBXes, but most are somewhere in between. We’re trying to come up with a connection strategy to handle all of them.”

This stuff takes time. RIM will surely roll out SIP-based PBX support eventually. Until that time, it makes sense that they would test the waters with the most carrier-friendly protocol around.

6 Responses to “Why doesn’t the BlackBerry 8820 have SIP support?”

  1. 1 anon

    wow, you guys make some of the wildest assumptions sometimes.

  2. 2 NDA

    RIM has had a SIP phone for about 2 years. It was part of the 72xx series. It’s the phone companies not coming to terms with the fact they are really just ISP’s in the future.

  3. 3 cuvillier


    SIP is requested by many customers. Their need is clear, they don’t want to have two phones, they only want one and
    this is logical. Without SIP, you have to buy, to manage, to power, to maintain … two phones.

    You should take this in consideration.



  4. 4 Albert

    I’m confused, I spoke with a RIM staffer and he said the MVS service would work with SIP

  5. 5 jim

    Isn’t it obvious why RIM has not provided SIP??? Think about it. They provide SIP… companies like truphone & fring start supporting the BB… and the wireless carrier looses money.

    You’ll never see a North American company do this. European companies, like Nokia, yes.. but in NA.. never! Not until all parties (handset makers and wireless providers) are assured they will not loose a cent.

  6. 6 Ben Whitaker

    Jim’s 111% right.

    They’re already two years late providing WiFi on the handset

    Wifi, a separate data channel to the phone - that would be competition for the data traffic recurring revenue part of the handset wouldn’t it?

    We’d put that off as long as possible, wouldn’t we? Why give customers choices when you can railroad them into no choices & divvy up the loot?

    SIP? That’d be competition for the recurring revenue part of the handset, wouldn’t it? E.g. long distance and international calling. We’d put that off as long as possible, wouldn’t we? Why hook up the customer when we can force the customer to buy from the company store and share the loot with the carrier?

    As with most of the mobile scene in USA, the handset makers care a lot more about how the carriers make out than really “styling” the customer with a decent feature set that saves them money and gives them choices.

    The BlackBerry is such a fossil to begin with - their “new super-advanced” model is just now offering 3G about two and a half years late.

    Americans don’t choose their phones. The carriers do.

    Everybody stateside gets their phone from The Sprint Store or the Verizon or T-Mobile store or whatever, from a heavily pruned lineup of loss leaders & longterm revenue maximizers.

    These are not smart purchases, these are simply bait to lure debt-loving Americans to sign up for another long-term debt obligation.

    Money-saving features are the ***LAST*** thing you will ever find at the Company Store, on the Two Year Contract plan.

    I’m an American living overseas and have been making $400 - $500 a month worth of international calls to US cellphones and landlines for free via SIP with a $200 Nokia E70. About $8,000 worth of free calling to date.

    People - a SIP-capable phone is an investment that *pays you *, something that puts *money in your pocket every day* via free calling via SIP. For me about $10 every day that I do not pay to a carrier. I make all the calls, I get all the value, I just do it in a way that means the money stays in my pocket. My phone pays for itself twice every month.

    Your phone, from the Company Store in back home, does not.

    Carriers are scheming how to take as much money as legally possible *out* of your pocket every day. Why would you buy your phone from them?

    I could *buy a car* with the $8,000 SIP has saved me over the last 20 months.

    How much money has your two-year contract with the Company Store saved you? D’ya think they mighta planned it that way?

    Do you even like your phone and service plan that your still probably owe a grand on? Do you still have the option to pay $200 to get out of your contract?

    Prepaid minutes, no contract, SIP, and buying your own phone with your own brain, on the merits, is the way to go.

  1. 1 Reviewer: BlackBerry 8820 Wi-Fi not so hot | BlackBerry Cool
  2. 2 RIM's Wi-Fi partner working offering VoIP | BlackBerry Cool

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