Who just ordered one million BlackBerry 10 phones?

blackberry-z10-1Someone out there has taken a real shine to BlackBerry’s new BlackBerry 10 operating system, as the company has excitedly shared the news it has received an order for one million of its new devices from a single, mystery source. It’s so proud, the press team has sent out a release to tell the world, letting everyone know it’s the largest order the firm has ever received.

BlackBerry’s executive vice president of global sales gushed, “An order for one million devices is a tremendous vote of confidence in BlackBerry 10,” saying the new OS has, “a powerful recipe for success,” and adding, “consumers are ready for a new user experience, and BlackBerry 10 delivers.” We’re assuming this was followed by a little sit down.

The phones will begin shipping out immediately, but the lucky recipient is unknown. A BlackBerry spokesperson told AllThingsD it was, “Bound by confidentiality and cannot disclose our partner’s name.” The press release says only that it’s an, “Established partner,” but that doesn’t really help. So who has developed this much love for BlackBerry 10?

A network purchase?

Blackberry-Z10-reviewBlackBerry’s record-breaking deal may be connected to the recently confirmed U.S. launch of the BlackBerry Z10, and incoming launch of the BlackBerry Q10. AT&T and Verizon have both announced BlackBerry 10 release dates of March 22 and March 28 respectively. Bloomberg asked the pair whether they were responsible for the order, but both declined to comment, as did Sprint.

This denial doesn’t mean much though, as with a combined total of more than 250 million subscribers, an order of a million phones doesn’t sound like much of a risk. T-Mobile hasn’t publicly confirmed when the Z10 will arrive on its network, but told Bloomberg the order wasn’t connected to them.

A government or private sector contract?

But what about BlackBerry’s natural home, the governmental and private sector? Well, unlike a network, one million is a lot of mobile phones for one company to order. When Research in Motion (as BlackBerry was known at the time) lost the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency deal to Apple at the end of last year, it was for 17,600 phones.

Likewise, when the Pentagon decided to entertain offers from other manufacturers, it also pledged to keep, “Large numbers,” of BlackBerry phones in operation. But even then, the required management software would need to initially support 162,000, then 260,000 devices. Eventually though, it would have to handle eight million phones. Another thing to remember is BlackBerry 10 gained FIPS 140-2 certification in November last year, making it suitable for use by government agencies.

There’s also nothing written that the source of the order wanted one million phones right this second, and BlackBerry could be drip-feeding deliveries over an extended period of time. We can only speculate on the identity of the mystery buyer, but we wouldn’t be surprised if it turned out to be one of the major networks.

During the last quarter, BlackBerry shifted 6.9 million phones, and is due to announce its next set of financial results on March 28. It must feel good to have such a sizable order to add to the books.