Telstra bracing for BlackBerry battle - IDC

Expect a battle for the best BlackBerry solutions package in Australia very soon, says IDC.Wireless and mobile communications IDC analyst Warren Chaisatien said the end of the exclusive agreement between Telstra and wireless solutions manufacturer Research in Motion (RIM) in May will open the floodgates for a BlackBerry solutions competition.

Expect a battle for the best BlackBerry solutions package in Australia very soon, says IDC.

Wireless and mobile communications IDC analyst Warren Chaisatien said the end of the exclusive agreement between Telstra and wireless solutions manufacturer Research in Motion (RIM) in May will open the floodgates for a BlackBerry solutions competition.

"The exclusive agreement between RIM and Telstra will be coming to an end in May and therefore the competitive advantage of Telstra will come to an end as well. We are expecting other GSM players like Optus and Vodafone to come in which will force Telstra to lower its prices or reposition itself in the market."

Vodafone spokesperson Juliet Simpson said they are itching to get hold of the global product and are preparing to launch it "very soon."

"The pricing will be very competitive with that of Telstra and there will be added benefits as well, such as global roaming and our very own interface which will be the same all over the world," Simpson said.

She added that they will look into offering BlackBerry solutions in other handsets as well and not just Nokia since "we have a number of exclusive deals with different handsets and we've got global partners to get the best handsets and the best prices."

Chaisatien believes that Telstra's partnership with Nokia for a BlackBerry-enabled Nokia handset is a business strategy in preparation for the end of the agreement with RIM.

"Nokia is the largest mobile phone manufacturer in Australia, Telstra is the biggest telecommunications company and RIM is the most competitive player for wireless solutions manufacturer. This move is a good strategy for Telstra knowing that the exclusivity agreement is going to end soon."

Chaisatien expects prices for the wireless application to become very affordable after the entry of other GSM players in this market.

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