BlackBerry 10 device prices and launch dates

BlackBerry-maker Research in Motion (RIM) announced the pricing and availability of its new BlackBerry Z10 today (30 January 2013), but said that they couldn’t confirm when it’s expected to come to South Africa or what it will cost yet.

However, 8ta confirmed today that it would offer BlackBerry 10 devices through its stores from 1 March 2013.

A second BlackBerry 10 device that boasts a hardware keyboard, which RIM is calling the BlackBerry Q10, will become available from April 2013.

Questioned about local availability Rory O’Neill, VP of product & channel marketing at RIM for EMEA, explained that there are three factors that determine when a device is ready to launch in a market:

  1. Government regulations;
  2. Lab testing (RIM has 150 labs around the world with various carriers, O’Neill said); and
  3. Commercial readiness.

O’Neill indicated that government regulations aren’t an area of concern for the launch of BlackBerry 10 in South Africa, which leaves testing and commercial factors.

Rory O'Neill
Rory O’Neill

Although O’Neill did not wish to elaborate further, it is difficult not to connect the dots to the BlackBerry data plans in South Africa that are still in flux.

Industry speculation suggests that the flat-rated R59/month for BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS) that has been so popular in South Africa will not exist in its current form on BlackBerry 10 devices.

When asked, O’Neill said that they aren’t ready to discuss BlackBerry data plans in South Africa yet as they are still talking through the commercial terms with carriers.

It seems unlikely that BlackBerry 10 will launch in South Africa before the details around BIS are hashed out with our mobile network operators.

That said, 8ta confirmed today there are changes in the pipe for BIS.

BlackBerry Z10 demo unit - BlackBerry 10 launch Johannesburg
BlackBerry Z10 demo unit – BlackBerry 10 launch Johannesburg

International launch, pricing

Elsewhere in the world, the BlackBerry Z10 is expected to become available from Thursday (31 January 2013), with the Canadian launch set for 5 February 2013, O’Neill said.

Asked about pricing, O’Neill said that when the device launches in the UK tomorrow it will be included in contracts that run from £36 to £42 per month.

In the US the BlackBerry Z10 is expected to cost $199 when subsidised on a contract, and $599 when bought off-contract. As per the US norm, these prices exclude sales tax.

BlackBerry Q10
BlackBerry Q10

Africa important to RIM

While O’Neill said he couldn’t get into specifics about African and South African launch dates, he said that Africa is important to RIM.

“We have great customers here,” O’Neill said. He added that by any measure, Africa is the fastest growing smartphone market in the world.

BlackBerry is the biggest smartphone platform in South Africa and Nigeria, while Nigeria is the second-fastest growing market next to China, O’Neill said.

BlackBerry Z10 press shot
BlackBerry Z10 press shot

More BlackBerry 10 news

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BlackBerry 10 SA launch date revealed

BlackBerry 10 BIS changes in SA confirmed

BlackBerry music coming to SA

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BlackBerry 10 device prices and launch dates