27/04/2007

WHERE'S TELECOM'S BLACKBERRY WORLDPHONE?


Here's the problem for Telecom's high value business customers: because Telecom doesn't support the Blackberry and Symbian-based smartphones like the P900i, they're restricted to using the Treo or Apache when it comes to phone-PDA hybrids.

That's okay when those customers are in New Zealand, but what if they want to travel to countries without CDMA networks, particularly, Australia, which will be CDMA-less from next year? In those situations, businesspeople essentially have to make do without much of the functionality of their personal devices.

When I as at the Kansas headquarters of Sprint in November, a Telecom representative based there said Telecom wasn't interested in offering the Blackberry, despite the Telecom-Sprint relationship meaning it would be able to get its hands on Blackberries in sufficient quantities.

With Sprint and Verion introducing the Blackberry Worldphone, which includes CDMA and GSM chips, executives can literally get push email anywhere in the world.

This article outlines the benefits for Sprint and Verizon customers who can take up the Blackberry 8800 variant Worldphone.

"The BlackBerry is being rolled out by Verizon with an international data plan costing $20 per month for unlimited e-mail access in about 60 countries on top of the regular BlackBerry subscription fee of $45 to $50 a month. Occasional travelers can opt to pay as they go for their data usage. The device also can be used as a phone in more than 150 countries at a cost of $1.29 or $2.49 per minute, depending on the market."

That's not a bad deal for globe-trotting executives. It will be interesting to see it similar Apache or Treo like devices become available to Telecom. If not, the telco may live to regret its decision to shun the Blackberry in favour of Windows Mobile devices, especially if the new chief executive of the company has long-term plans for the CDMA network.

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