BlackBerry releases phones to retailers in India

The models will be network independent in line with a strategy started January

Research In Motion launched in India on Tuesday two BlackBerry handsets through its distributor Redington.

These handsets will be available through retail outlets in line with the company’s strategy since January to launch network-independent phones through Redington, besides its traditional sales through mobile services providers.

The new models launched on Tuesday are the BlackBerry Storm and BlackBerry Curve 8520. The phones will be available at leading electronic stores in 38 cities, RIM said. These stores are already selling other models of BlackBerry phones, the spokesman said.

The move to offer the handsets through retail channels fits better with the way consumers in India like to buy, said a spokesman for RIM in India. Consumers usually pick a handset at retail stores from a variety of brands and models, and then insert a SIM (subscriber identity module) card and get it running, he added.

RIM already has ties with nine service providers in India, including the largest Bharti Airtel, and Reliance Communications, the second largest.

After buying a BlackBerry handset from a retail store, the customer will still have to sign up with one of these nine service providers, the spokesman said.

RIM offers its handsets through retail channels as well in a few other countries where the model has been found to be relevant to the market, he added.

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John Ribeiro

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