BlackBerry to strengthen focus on CDMA smartphones in India

Telecom Lead India:
Research in Motion (RIM), makers of BlackBerry smartphones, is strengthening
its focus on CDMA devices to improve its sales in Indian telecom market. RIM
will re-launch its Curve 8530 model at about 12 percent lower price of Rs
11,990. This will be a big boost to Reliance Communications, Tata Teleservices
and MTS India, the three prominent CDMA service providers.

Curve 8530, which was earlier available at Rs 13,500, is the
CDMA version of BlackBerry’s GSM device – Curve 8520.

“Smartphones are getting popular day by day, but a
majority of these are on GSM technology. While CDMA mobile phones have been
popular, there is a very little choice for consumers when it comes to CDMA
smartphones. And that is why we are re-launching Curve 8530,” said RIM
India Head of CDMA business Francis Jose.

According to TRAI, the CDMA subscriber base in India
declined from 114.36 million in June 2011 to 112.42 million in September 2011.
Reliance with 55.03 million subscribers was the largest CDMA mobile operator.


ARPU for CDMA full mobility service increased by 9.56
percent from Rs 64 in June 2011 to Rs 71 in September 2011. ARPU for CDMA has
declined by 3.31 percent on y-o-y basis.


IDC data said Indian CDMA smartphone shipments are expected
to grow at a CAGR of 19.6 per cent until 2016. From less than one lakh units in
2010, the market for CDMA devices in India is expected to grow to over three
lakh units in 2012 and to over six lakh units in 2016.

RIM’s portfolio of CDMA devices includes BlackBerry Style
9670 (Rs 19,704), BlackBerry Curve 9330 (Rs 15,990), BlackBerry Bold 9650 (Rs
20,990) and BlackBerry Curve 9350 (Rs 20,990), according to a PTI report.

RIM posted a net loss of $125 million for the three months
ended March 3, 2012 compared to net income of $934 million in the same quarter
of fiscal 2011. During the quarter, RIM shipped 11.1 million BlackBerry
smartphones and over 500,000 BlackBerry PlayBook tablets. RIM does not give
country specific details.

RIM recently slashed prices of GSM handsets by up to 26
percent, while the price of PlayBook was reduced by more than half to Rs 24,490
for the 64GB version under an offer from the original price Rs 37,990. This was
further reduced to Rs 19,990 in March.

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