We’ve heard rumblings about this for a little bit, but a tip we just received gives a little clarity on the situation. More →
We just got a heads up from one of our Northern connects that has to do with Bell, and let’s just say we think Bell subscribers are going to be thrilled with what we have to report. How does Bell’s entire lineup of devices for their HSPA network launch sound? We also grabbed pricing for y’all, too! The following prices are prices with 36 month contracts following by full retail pricing.
Following a report from Forbes last Friday, Opera has stated publicly — at least in PR speak — that it denies suggestions of one or more US carrier agreements rumored to be announced in early April. Forbes’ report suggested US carriers were finally “coming around” and the Oslo-based browser company would be announcing agreements to bring its mobile browser to subsidized handsets in the US at CTIA. Opera’s public response:
Opera is aware of statements in the media that Opera will announce one or more agreements with US operators in early April.
Opera would like to clarify that it has no plans to announce any US operator agreements to the OSE in early April as mentioned in the media.
Well that doesn’t leave much room for debate now does it? The idea of less-savvy users in the US having access to a more real version of the web from feature phones was definitely exciting as typical, casual users are unlikely to seek out a browser like Opera Mobile on their own. Alas, no such luck if this announcement is taken at face value. We’re sure Opera will continue to push its browser to US carriers and we can only hope deals will be announced at some point. That point however, will not be next week at CTIA.
Forbes is reporting that Opera is bypassing handset manufacturers and striking deals with US wireless carriers in an attempt to further the distribution of its popular mobile web browser. Opera currently has agreements with European carriers Vodafone and T-Mobile that places the Opera browser on the carrier’s mobile phones. A loose-lipped Opera spokesman revealed that Opera will also be announcing several US carrier deals at the upcoming CTIA Wireless conference in early April. The spokesperson declined to identify the carriers but the US only has 4 major carriers so you can take your pick. Regardless or which carriers will be scoring Opera Mobile come April, this will be a big step for both Opera and feature phone customers whose browsing experiences are about to get a boost.
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”?