Blackberry has officially announced that it will not be renewing its licensing agreement with T-Mobile US to sell Blackberry products when the license expires later this month on April 25.
Last February, T-Mobile offered give to discounts to customers who upgraded their Blackberries to iPhones, which prompted Blackberry CEO John Chen to write a blog post expressing his outrage of the service provider’s move. T-Mobile attempted to do some damage control by offering customers $250 if they upgraded their older Blackberry to a newer model, but also offered the same users $200 if they chose another manufacturer. All this led to 94 percent of T-Mobile’s Blackberry users switching to a different phone brand and ultimately led to today’s announcement.
Current T-Mobile customers using Blackberries shouldn’t be affected by the change, as Blackberry has promised to still provide the “best possible customer service” to those customers. T-Mobile will also still be able to sell the Blackberry devices they still have in their inventory but will no longer be receiving new models from the smartphone manufacturer.
“BlackBerry has had a positive relationship with T-Mobile for many years. 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,” said BlackBerry CEO and Executive Chair, John Chen. “We are deeply grateful to our loyal BlackBerry customers and will do everything in our power to provide continued support with your existing carrier or ensure a smooth transition to our other carrier partners.”
Moving forward, Blackberry is working to get their devices to consumers and business users through other carriers (their products are also currently available through Verizon) but as CEO Chen has said, a reunion with T-Mobile isn’t impossible.
Blackberry also recently released an update to its BBM messaging app that introduced the use of stickers and opening of the BBM Shop. The company also enabled group photo sharing with the update. Blackberry has been trying to push its BBM service by most recently announcing that the app will be coming to Windows Phone as well as making the service available on the iOS and Android last year.