T-Mobile calls BlackBerry high priority
BY SCOTT MORITZ Bloomberg News
Friday, February 08, 2013
2/08/13 at 5:29 AM
T-Mobile USA, the fourth-largest U.S. mobile-service provider, said Thursday that tests of the new BlackBerry Z10 are going well, and it's aiming to be the first American carrier "out of the gate" with the phone next month.
"The device is more stable than we anticipated," said Frank Sickinger, head of business sales at T-Mobile USA, a unit of Deutsche Telekom AG. "If we are able to speed up the launch date, we will do that. Right now it's looking like mid-March."
The encouraging words come a week after BlackBerry unveiled the new phone, which is already on sale in Great Britain and Canada.
BlackBerry didn't give a firm U.S. release date, saying the Z10 would be available sometime in March. That raised concern among investors, who drove down BlackBerry's stock 17 percent in the two days after the debut event.
The U.S. is BlackBerry's largest single market, and the company is counting on the new phone to win back customers lost to Apple Inc.'s iPhone and Google Inc.'s Android. After pioneering the smartphone industry, BlackBerry has seen its share of the market fall to the single digits.
While the price of the Z10 hasn't been determined yet, Sickinger said the $199 price BlackBerry announced Jan. 30 is consistent with what T-Mobile USA has considered. T-Mobile USA should be able to offer the Z10 to business customers about a week before retail sales start, Sickinger said.
For Bellevue, Wash.-based T-Mobile USA, which is merging with MetroPCS Communications Inc., the Z10 could provide a new way to woo customers - especially business users. The carrier has been struggling to keep pace with rivals Verizon Wireless, AT&T Inc. and Sprint Nextel Corp.
BlackBerry, based in Waterloo, Ontario, said last week that lengthier testing procedures were behind the longer wait for the product in the U.S.
T-Mobile USA CEO John Legere has vowed to shake up the industry with measures such as selling phones on installment plans, rather than the typical approach of subsidizing the devices in return for two-year commitments.
"I'm glad to see BlackBerry launch a relevant product," Sickinger said. "BlackBerry stands to do very well in 2013 with T-Mobile."
Original Print Headline: T-Mobile pushing BlackBerry debut
A customer checks out the BlackBerry Z10 on the first day of sales at a Rogers Communications Inc. store in Toronto on Tuesday. T-Mobile USA wants to be the first American carrier "out of the gate" when the Z10 goes on sale in the U.S. AARON HARRIS/Bloomberg