BlackBerry's one-million BlackBerry 10 device buyer revealed

Summary:As BlackBerry 10 handsets hit the US, analysts think the company's mystery one million smartphone buyer could be part of an inventory risk-sharing strategy.

Wireless distribution company Brightstar has been named as the purchaser behind BlackBerry's recently-announced one million BlackBerry 10 order.

Earlier this month BlackBerry announced that an unnamed partner had purchased one million BlackBerry 10 devices  — its largest single order in history — which sparked speculation that a carrier, bullish on the new device's prospects, had signed on the dotted line.

However, research house Detwiler Fenton has pegged the mystery "partner" as Brightstar, according to All Things D. The one million purchase could be to share some of the inventory risk with the distributor, according to Detwiler Fenton, which notes that Brightstar handles Verizon's distribution for megastore retailers and its dealer agent channels.

"[The arrangement] suggests Verizon doesn't believe this will be a strong seller, since it normally tries to allocate hot product on its own," Detwiler Fenton managing director Mark Gerber told All Things D.

BlackBerry declined to comment: "We are bound by confidentiality with our partner and cannot disclose our partner's name," the company said.

Brightstar announced at its full year earnings yesterday that it had recently signed sourcing and supply chain service agreements covering 2.5 million devices with four of Verizon's largest dealers, including Diamond Wireless, Moorehead Communications, Go Wireless and A Wireless. 

Meanwhile, despite predictions that a mobile operator could be behind the one million device deal, carrier support appears to be lukewarm as BlackBerry 10 hits the US. AT&T has thrown little into marketing the Z10 BB10 device, while retailers for Verizon and T-Mobile aren't giving it major support either, according to the Wall Street Journal.

A spokesperson for Verizon retailer Diamond Wireless told the paper the Z10 would not get "hero" status support from it, leaving any special marketing to BlackBerry.

Goldman Sachs also found a "surprising lack of marketing support and poor position of the product" for BlackBerry's US Z10 launch at Radio Shack and Best Buy, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.

Topics: BlackBerry, Mobility, Smartphones

About

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, s... Full Bio

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