BlackBerry passes 8 million mark subscriber milestone in UK

There are now over 8 million BlackBerry subscribers in the UK. While the U.S. market is losing ground with the BlackBerry maker, the Brits are taking to the phones like a duck to water.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor

Research in Motion said today that its subscriber base in the UK has surpassed the 8 million mark, as it unveiled a new cloud-based music service in the region.

BlackBerry Messenger has over 50 million instant messaging users worldwide, and 5 million applications are downloaded daily from the BlackBerry App World, the company said. But its competitors are releasing near-similar applications that could threaten these figures by the same quarter next year.

The Ontario-based smartphone giant has had anything but a smooth-sailing last quarter.

(Source: Flickr, CC)

The BlackBerry Music service, launched today, has a catalogue of over 45 million tracks, and a social networking feel. Users can stream over the network, or save for offline playing when there is no network connection, or poor reception.

Users have been flocking to the range of BlackBerry smartphones for years, with a particular focus on younger people and the BlackBerry Messenger service, which offers free, encrypted messaging between devices.

But while on the face of it the BlackBerry maker celebrates its 8 million user mark, the company continues to struggle amidst rising competition from Google's Android mobile operating system, used on the majority of UK mobile phones, and Apple's iPhone device, which has a significant presence in the UK.

The company has also struggled this quarter with a series of outages that left, in one case, users worldwide without service for up to four days, after a datacenter near London failed, and had knock-on consequences around the world.

It offered free compensatory applications through the BlackBerry App World; seen as a controversial move, which could result in greater sales for the company. The BlackBerry maker makes a cut from all profits from the BlackBerry application store, and it was thought that by users collecting free applications from the catalogue would increase the number of users downloading and installing premium applications.

Figures from market analyst Gartner shows Research in Motion's marketshare has dropped to 10 percent in the U.S. during the third-quarter, its lowest so far. Yet in the UK market, the BlackBerry marketshare accounted for 22.5 percent of all smartphones.


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