Tue, Jan 25, 2011 - Page 12 News List

CHT launches its first BlackBerry smartphone

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff Reporter

Chunghwa Telecom Co (CHT, 中華電信), the nation’s biggest telecoms carrier, yesterday launched its first BlackBerry smartphone from Research In Motion (RIM), ending Taiwan Mobile Co’s (台灣大哥大) five-year exclusive right to sell the phone in Taiwan.

The partnership would extend to the sale of RIM’s new tablet device, dubbed the PlayBook, CHT said. RIM’s PlayBook is expected to hit the company’s stores next quarter, said Shi Mu-piao (石木標), a vice president of Chunghwa Telecom.

“The sale of RIM’s BlackBerry will help increase the number of corporate customers for us,” Shih said.

“We think it’s the right time to introduce BlackBerry phones as they are now equipped with the popular touchscreen feature as well as Chinese input, which is important [for Taiwanese], but had not been available before,” Shih added.

The telecoms carrier expects sales of BlackBerry phones to help boost the number of its corporate customers to about 1 million, up by 1 percent from 990,000 users now, Shih said, adding that the new subscription package includes a two-year free data transmission service to cater to the needs of corporate subscribers.

RIM’s tablet device, meanwhile, was targeting average consumers, Shih said.

RIM’s Blackberry Torch 9800 smartphone is now available at 80 outlets from Chunghwa Telecom and its handset retailer affiliate Senao International Co (神腦國際).

Meanwhile, Taiwan Mobile, the nation’s No.2 phone company, yesterday said it planned to introduce a remodeled Blackberry Torch 9800 later this quarter with a white casing instead of black, as well as the newly released BlackBerry Bold 9780, according to a company statement.

Taiwan Mobile also said it would launch RIM’s tablet device at an appropriate time.

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