RIM eyes BlackBerry Africa growth

2011-09-29 13:00

Cape Town - Research In Motion (RIM) is focussing on growth in the developing market of Africa, despite losing smartphone market share in the US.

The company recently celebrated 70 million global BlackBerry subscribers, but its focus is developing markets where it commands a major slice of the market and up to 70% of the South African market, according estimates from Vodacom.

Part of the success formula for the smartphone producer has been to link the device to mobile operators.

Users pay a flat rate to have unlimited internet service.

"We see ourselves as an integral partner: We really believe we're a partner, not just another device vendor and it goes back to the solution. For R2 a day, you have access to your browsing," Rui Brites team leader for Product Management in Africa for RIM told News24.

Internet service

The relationship has seen BlackBerrys dominate the mobile market in SA, despite competition from Android powered devices.

According to industry tracker comScore, BlackBerry lost ground to Android devices in the US market, declining 4% to 21.7% in three months while the latter rose to 41.8%.

Apple's iPhone controls 27%, despite selling over 100 million units since its launch, and Nokia's Symbian a miniscule 1.9%, but the company is pinning its hopes on Windows to power its next-generation devices.

With broadband internet service in SA only available to a minority of the population, most people who access the internet do so through mobile devices.

"Internet penetration in South Africa from a person who has ADSL at home is relatively low, and we said we would democratise the internet by having a proposition in the market that the consumer can afford," Brites said.

RIM recently launched the new BlackBerry Bold and Torch models with an updated BlackBerry 7 operating system in SA as the company underlines its aggressive strategy.

RIM has produced a video of "individual stories" where BlackBerry users describe how they use the smartphone.

Here is the video on YouTube:

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  • tfidytek - 2011-09-29 14:58

    What a load of rubish. I live in Namibia and since january I been waiting for the app store to open, can't wait to get rid of my torch and go back to trusty old samsung.

  • Shistirrer - 2011-09-29 16:07

    ROTFLMAO! I have been saying it all along and got abused for it, here RIM is confessing it - they are losing market share in the US at the speed of light because their technology is outdated and CR*P, so they are using Africa (and South America, for that matter) as a dumping ground to make a last quick buck. Suckers.

      darren - 2011-09-29 16:16

      Would you put Europ in that league? As everyone's business phones are blackberry's.

      Shistirrer - 2011-09-29 17:13

      In Europe BB peaked in November 2010, from there downhill all the way. The iPhone is showing some growth there, and Android devices are making phenomenal inroads, the rest are on the way out.

      Shistirrer - 2011-09-29 17:21

      Latest stats:

  • Tony Burkson - 2011-10-04 18:07

    This is nothing but a PR stunt, Blackberry have no interest in Africa outside of South Africa, their marketing spend is concentrated soley on South Africa, we recently invited to come and talk about the Platform with Mobile Developers in West Africa, and they couldnt even be bothered to turn up. This is just useless PR nonsense,

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