Virgin Mobile offers BlackBerry service PDF Print E-mail

After missing out on a significant portion of the market, Virgin Mobile SA now offers a BlackBerry solution.

Virgin Mobile SA has finally come to the BlackBerry party, announcing on Friday that it will offer a BlackBerry solution to its customers.

The Virgin Mobile BlackBerry solution will have to compete with similar offers from MTN, Cell C, Vodacom and 8ta.

Virgin Mobile says it will run a “have it all” promotion on BlackBerry devices, offering access to BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS), plus 1 000 free SMSes per month.

BIS is a low-cost solution that provides users with access to the Internet and up to 10 supported corporate and personal e-mail accounts, as well as BlackBerry Messenger and social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. It also provides access to a wide range of mobile applications on BlackBerry App World.

Virgin Mobile SA CEO Steve Bailey says: “We are thrilled to launch the BlackBerry solution and to be able to offer a range of BlackBerry smartphones and services to the South African market.

“We are launching with some very competitive offers, and feel certain our customers will find an offer to suit their individual needs. And with our offering of BlackBerry Internet Service, as well as 1 000 SMSes free every month, this really is allowing our customers to have it all.”

Need for SMSes?

Strategy Worx MD Steven Ambrose says: “Virgin have not fully understood the BlackBerry offering if they think that offering 1 000 SMSes will bring them customers over the offerings from the other operators, or that this will attract customers to BlackBerry itself.

“The key differentiator for BlackBerry is that it comes with BBM, BlackBerry Messenger, a free data-based messaging client, which basically does away for the need to send SMSes, for the most part,” explains Ambrose.

The handsets initially on offer will be the 3G-enabled BlackBerry Curve 9300 and the BlackBerry Curve 8520. The BlackBerry Curve models have proven to be popular as entry-level smartphone devices in SA due to their low price point.

Virgin's available offers for the BlackBerry Curve 8520 are the Classic 150 and the Top Up 99 contracts for R170 and R219 per month, for 24 months, respectively. The Curve 9300 is available on the Classic 200 and Top Up 199 contracts for R220 and R319, per month, respectively.

Ambrose says it`s a very good move for Virgin to finally offer the BlackBerry service as it was missing out a significant part of the market, especially in its target demographic.

“The BlackBerry offering should allow them to be more competitive in this demographic, and offer competitive packages to current and prospective customers,” notes Ambrose.

“Their current packages are good value, which include airtime and the BIS service in the total price. These well-priced packages will be attractive in themselves and the offering of large SMS bundles will be largely ignored.”

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