Frosty Relationship between Blackberry and T-Mobile Begins to Thaw

by Matt Klassen on May 12, 2015

T-Mobile announced late last week that it will be adding the Blackberry Classic to its smartphone line-up in an effort to attract enterprise customers. While there’s nothing particularly exciting about this news, things become a lot more interesting when you realize the depth of the dislike these two firms have for each other, as over the last few years things between them have become downright frosty.

The first blow was dealt by T-Mobile in 2013, when the carrier announced it would no longer be stocking Blackberry phones in its retail stores, with David Carey, company executive vice president for corporate services, attributing the move to sluggish sales. The second blow was dealt in 2014, when Blackberry announced it would no longer be dealing with T-Mobile at all, following a promotional email campaign from T-Mobile that encouraged Blackberry users to switch to an iPhone. Both firms have given the other the proverbial cold shoulder ever since.

So why are the two firms willing to finally kiss and make up? Let’s just say nothing thaws frosty relations quicker than desperation. Following its recent UnCarrier 9.0 initiative T-Mobile came to the stark realization that it really has nothing on offer for the enterprise market, at least not for businesses that want to avoid the BYOD movement in favour of secure mobile solutions. For Blackberry’s part, well you just knew the struggling company couldn’t stay mad at anyone for long, particularly if they’re willing to sell its smartphones.

When T-Mobile unveiled its UnCarrier 9.0 campaign several months ago the goal was to reach the business world, offering enterprise customers the same value pricing that it offers the consumer market. The problem for T-Mobile, however, was that it neglected to offer any business-oriented phones, meaning companies would have to embrace less secure (although admittedly more popular) choices like Apple or Samsung. The inclusion of Blackberry is simply T-Mobile’s way to remedy its product shortcomings, giving customers more choice.

“People who love BlackBerry smartphones and want to use one on America’s fastest nationwide 4G LTE network now have that choice,” T-Mobile president and CEO John Legere said in a press release. “Bringing BlackBerry into our device line-up now also stokes UnCarrier 9.0, which is all about bringing the UnCarrier revolution to business.”

For its part, Blackberry really didn’t have a choice, as with less than 1 percent market share the company just wants to get its name back out there, particularly at a time when the enterprise market is growing increasingly frustrated with unsecure consumer mobile devices from Apple and Samsung. While Blackberry phones are available through AT&T and Verizon, both carriers have largely ignored the Canadian firm, and it’s clear Blackberry is hoping T-Mobile will aggressively promote the Classic as a way of attracting more business clients.

“BlackBerry is proud to partner with T-Mobile once again to offer the world’s most secure and reliable mobile products and services that encourage productivity — whether they are individual users making the most of their day with the BlackBerry Classic, or an enterprise seeking to manage thousands of devices,” BlackBerry CEO John Chen said.

So while theWaterloofirm felt spurned by T-Mobile in the past, those days are over (in fact, both companies are acting like they never existed), replaced by a new era of desperation for both firms.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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