China Telecom to offer BlackBerry to its corporate clients

11:05, May 17, 2011      

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BlackBerry mobile phones at an exhibition in Beijing. China Telecom Corp runs BlackBerry handsets on its 3G networks in 18 cities and provinces in China. Feng Li / Getty Images

China Telecom Corp Ltd announced on Monday it will offer BlackBerry services to corporate clients. The move comes as the country's No 3 telecommunications operator, by mobile subscriber numbers, attempts to catch up in the smartphone market.

Working with Canadian telecommunications and wireless device giant Research in Motion Ltd (RIM), the company has introduced BlackBerry handsets running on both its EVDO and WCDMA 3G networks in 18 cities and provinces, including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangdong.

The service is being aimed at business users and government employees, the companies said in a joint news release in Shanghai.

"China Telecom understands the needs of its enterprise customers and is pleased to launch the BlackBerry solution, providing an end-to-end integrated platform that delivers effective and efficient communications," said Liang Zhiping, managing director of China Telecom's VIP customer department.

Apart from promoting e-mail services featuring BlackBerry applications, China Telecom also plans to provide BlackBerry's Enterprise Server software with a selection of services, including instant messenger applications and calendar reminders.

The services are tailor-made for small- and medium-sized enterprises and the company currently has no intention to offer them to individual users, said Sun Jian from China Telecom's technology support department.

A key player in the mobile e-mail business, RIM first tapped into the market through the GSM network in 2006 in partnership with China Mobile, the world's largest mobile carrier by subscribers.

Priced between 89 yuan ($13.67) and 109 yuan a month, the additional payment for China Telecom's combo is lower than the 198 yuan lowest monthly charge for the BlackBerry service from China Mobile Ltd. Gregory Shea, RIM's president of China operations, said he foresees great cooperation with China Telecom, which runs the world's largest CDMA 3G network.

In 2008, China Telecom entered the mobile business after receiving a license to operate services on the back of a government-orchestrated restructuring of the country's telecom sector. It has since promoted its wireless service aggressively, increasing its subscriber base to more than 100 million in the first three years.

Released under the brand name, "E-surfing", China Telecom's 3G network covers more than 20,000 counties and was the country's first commercialized 3G network.

In 2010, China Mobile pioneered the use of the retail-customer versions of its BlackBerry services for small businesses and personal users, which cost between 98 yuan and 108 yuan. But it has yet to launch a BlackBerry handset that operates on its TD-SCDMA 3G network.

China Unicom Ltd, the country's second-largest mobile carrier by subscriber numbers, has been selling Apple Inc's iPhone in China.

The Beijing Evening Times reported that China Unicom will launch BlackBerry mobile phones and related services on May 18.

Source: China Daily
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