There’s some pretty interesting news on the BlackBerry Front out of the UK this morning as T-Mobile has unveiled a “Pay Once” system to entice BlackBerry newcomers. Evidently T-Mobile’s BlackBerry in a Box offering, the Pay Once system is comprised of a one time fee of £180 ($262) that nets users not only a brand new Pearl 8110 but also unlimited email and and web for an entire year. Now as with all good things in life, there are some restrictions involved with this plan — you’re on your own for minutes and texts which must be done via the ol’ pay-as-you-go method. Still, it’s not a bad offering at all for those who type a lot more than they talk. For those interested in the Pay Once deal but completely uninterested in the SureType 8110, a T-Mobile UK spokesperson did hint that this offer could be extended to other BlackBerry handsets provided that the system is a success.
RIM’s already gone and launched its pre-paid BlackBerry server in Indonesia, but there’s a whole lot of countries that are probably foaming at the mouth. We’ve been saying this all along — pre-paid will take RIM to the next level. Why do you think Sidekicks got so popular? Because every single person in the hood could get one, every one who didn’t have perfect credit could get one, and even people that just wanted that flexibility could get one. We have a feeling this is going to be RIM’s power play for 2009. There are two different ways of doing BlackBerry pre-paid, one is daily, and one is monthly. We got a hold of pretty detailed document outlined all of RIM’s internal strategies for this. Stuff like their pitch to carriers, the target market, how RIM gets paid, when they get paid — all of that good stuff. Here’s a little synopsis of the key points:
- Targeting people that are on a limited budget
- People who can not get post-paid carrier credit
- Those that do not want to be tied to a long-term contract
- People that don’t “want to share personal information because of security and tax purposes.” DRUG DEALERS!
Here’s some of the selling points to carriers:
- It takes the risk off of the carrier. Meaning, instead of the carrier shelling out for hundreds of thousands of devices and them sitting in their stock rooms, it would be up to the retailer to sell the devices. By retailer, we’re talking about Best Buy, RadioShack, Fye, etc. Please note by the way those retailers are just for an example, there’s nothing in here that says anything about them specifically…
- It increases how much pre-paid users spend
- The pre-paid BlackBerry service engages users and reduces the churn rate. Stats show that after 25 days of inactivity, 70% of pre-paid users go bye-bye. With BIS however, the carrier has a direct channel to market to the subscriber and send them offers, campaigns, and other things to try and get them to stick around.
There’s two concepts RIM is fooling with in regards to how this works. One is purchasing the device with no subsidy (full price) and buying pre-paid cards to fill up their account with. The second is slightly more intriguing, and that’s a BlackBerry in a Box. The user purchases the device and one year of BIS service all in one package at the retailer. After a year is up, they can purchase whatever they’d like. Another year, time-based access, monthly, all that.
Finally, here’s some last “marketing practices” RIM is touting:
- Don’t call it pre-pay. It has a connotation of being cheap and poor.
- Upsell the IM services like Google Talk, MSN, etc.
- Encourage carriers to put the devices at the front of the store since it’s pretty much a no-headache sale.
So what do you think? If RIM can actually start to get carriers to jump on-board with this, we have a feeling this is going to make them absolutely explode with growth at a time where most other manufacturers are looking at cutting jobs and scaling back production. Who’s buying a “BlackBerry in a Box”?