T-Mobile Opens European Door for RIM

By Michael Singer

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Hoping to increase its market share overseas, mobile device maker Research In Motion (RIM) Wednesday announced a new European deal with Deutsche Telekom's T-Mobile division.

Waterloo, Ontario-based RIM, which is best known for its BlackBerry devices said the partnership will target professional consumers and smaller firms in Germany, the UK and Austria, with other T-Mobile markets to follow.

BlackBerry devices are popular with corporate clients, such as law firms and investment banks, as well as governments. But the new offering will target individuals who want the device primarily for business use.

The partnership is significant considering that BlackBerry is wildly popular with business customers in the United States and Canada, but relatively unknown in Europe. The new service is anticipated for Q2, 2003.

The cooperation between RIM and T-Mobile International is the continuation of a partnership set up for the American market in 2002 between RIM and T-Mobile USA.

As part of the European version, T-Mobile said it will incorporate RIM's latest BlackBerry handhelds, software and service into T-Mobile's GSM/GPRS wireless networks.

The devices can be accessed with T-E-mail platform (12 million subscribers, according to T-Mobile)as well as other POP3 or IMAP4 ISP e-mail accounts. v In addition to wireless e-mail, the Java-based BlackBerry handhelds feature phone, SMS, organizer and browser applications.

"Messaging is set to be the next big trend in mobile communications, and as part of our best of breed partnership strategy, we are working with RIM to deliver compelling services to our professional consumers," said T-Mobile Chief Marketing Officer Nikesh Arora. "The business user is a critical market with more than 25 percent of the workforce now mobile, and at T-Mobile we are determined to offer a personalized experience that is secure, fast and reliable so as to increase their usability of business data communication whilst on the move."

T-Mobile Wednesday also announced a deal with Handspring, which allows it to sell the Handspring Treo 270 color handheld communicator with service in the United States.