Research In Motion (RIM), Canada-based makers of BlackBerry smartphones and Visafone Communication Limited have signed an agreement for the launch of BlackBerry services in Nigeria on Visafone's Code Division and Multiple Access (CDMA) mobile network.
This feat marks first-time availability of CDMA BlackBerry smartphones in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region, and it is a first in Nigeria.
In a joint press statement issued in Lagos Wednesday, the partners said the BlackBerry Curve 9310, the BlackBerry Curve 9370 and the BlackBerry Bold 9930 smartphones will be available to customers from all the Visafone shops for pre-booking from Monday, October 29. It explained that the launch will benefit any Visafone customer that wants access to email, Internet and social networking apps, including BlackBerry Messenger (BBM, Facebook, Twitter and Social Feeds.
The Regional Director for RIM in East, Central and West Africa, Mr. Waldi Wepener enthused that "We are proud to support the Nigerian mobile industry with the first-time availability of CDMA BlackBerry smartphones in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region. Our partnership with Visafone demonstrates RIM's commitment to working with key partners in Africa to bring the widest range of BlackBerry services to people that want to be connected across the continent."
Chairman and Founder of Visafone,Mr. Jim Ovia stated that "This partnership represents a big step forward in Africa's mobile history and we are very excited to be at the forefront of such a ground-breaking development in the Nigerian market. We have responded to our customers' demands for BlackBerry services by being the first to provide them with a suite of CDMA-enabled BlackBerry smartphones that best meets the region's growing mobile needs. More broadly, this launch is a major boost to the NCC's efforts to achieve growth of data usage and quality voice services to the country's 100 million active mobile phone lines."
The statement explained that the range of CDMA-enabled BlackBerry smartphones run on BlackBerry 7.1 OS, which introduces a next-generation BlackBerry browser that is among the best in the industry. Browsing results are up to 40% faster than BlackBerry 6 smartphones and up to twice as fast as BlackBerry 5-based smartphones*.
It explained that the NFC-enabled BlackBerry Bold 9930 and BlackBerry Curve 9370 smartphones on OS 7.1 both come with BlackBerry Tag which allows users to share contact information, documents, URLs, photos and other multimedia content by simply tapping their BlackBerry smartphones together.
BlackBerry Tag also enables friends to instantly add one another as contacts on BBM.
On the additional services subscribers are to expect, the statement assured that "All the new BlackBerry smartphones can be used as mobile hotspots so that other Wi-Fi enabled devices can use the mobile network connection on the smartphone."