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BlackBerry severs ties with T-Mobile following spat

BlackBerry Q10 review back
Image used with permission by copyright holder

It’s over between BlackBerry and T-Mobile. Following a spat between the two companies a couple of months back, the struggling mobile maker has announced it’ll no longer allow the wireless carrier to sell any of its devices. T-Mobile will lose its license to sell BlackBerry products once the contract between the companies ends on April 25.

However, the Canadian firm said that current BlackBerry customers on T-Mobile’s network should see no difference in the service or support they receive.

“BlackBerry has had a positive relationship with T-Mobile for many years,” BlackBerry boss John Chen said in a statement released Tuesday night. “Regretfully, at this time, our strategies are not complementary and we must act in the best interest of our BlackBerry customers. We hope to work with T-Mobile again in the future when our business strategies are aligned.”

Troubling times

The first sign of trouble between the two firms came in September last year when T-Mobile decided to permanently remove BlackBerry phones from its stores. At the time, David Carey, the carrier’s executive vice president for corporate services, said that keeping stock in the retail distribution system was “inefficient” because sales of BlackBerry handsets were so poor. However, T-Mobile said it would continue to allow consumers to order a BlackBerry phone, though it’d have to be shipped to the customer.t-mobile offer

But in February, the relationship took a turn for the worse when the carrier emailed its BlackBerry customers with a “great offer” encouraging them to switch to an iPhone 5S.

The curious marketing strategy caused loyal BlackBerry users to vent their anger on social media sites. Acknowledging their disgruntlement, T-Mobile boss John Legere tweeted, “We give our customers choices, but you don’t have to give up your loyalty. We will continue to support.”

A few days later, Chen publicly thanked BlackBerry users for expressing their irritation, adding that his company was “outraged” at the “inappropriate and ill-conceived” promotion.

In an effort to patch things up, T-Mobile started offering current BlackBerry owners a $250 trade-in credit if they switched to one of BlackBerry’s newer Z10 or Q10 handsets. However, this evidently wasn’t enough to appease Chen and co.

With BlackBerry’s market share in the US pretty much at rock bottom, it’s of course unlikely that the move will have much impact on the fortunes of the Waterloo, Ontario firm. As for T-Mobile, we assume it’ll simply go on pushing the iPhone 5S.

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Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
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