Waterloo, Ontario – Blackberry will no longer sell its smartphones through T-Mobile, contending that the carrier’s strategy is not complementary to its own.
The beleaguered smartphone maker and services company said it will not renew T-Mobile’s license to offer BlackBerry products when it expires on April 25.
BlackBerry said it will be “working closely with other carrier partners to provide consumers and business users with alternatives should they decide to transition to another carrier and remain with BlackBerry” over the longer term.
Presumably, consumers who buy an unlocked BlackBerry from BlackBerry’s web store or from other sources would be allowed to activate the device on T-Mobile’s network.
“BlackBerry has had a positive relationship with T-Mobile for many years,” said BlackBerry CEO/executive chairman John Chen. “Regretfully, at this time, our strategies are not complementary, and we must act in the best interest of our BlackBerry customers. We hope to work with T-Mobile again in the future when our business strategies are aligned."
In a tweet, T-Mobile chief marketing officer Mike Sievert said current BlackBerry customers will be able to keep their corporate employee discounts.
The rift between BlackBerry and T-Mobile began earlier this year when T-Mobile launched a promotion urging customers to switch from BlackBerry phones to iPhones. In a blog post at the time, Chen expressed outrage, saying the promotion was “clearly inappropriate and ill-conceived.” He also had a warning for T-Mobile. “I would like to remind you that our long-standing partnership was once productive and profitable for both BlackBerry and T-Mobile. I hope we can find a way forward that allows us to serve our shared customers once again. Notwithstanding the current challenge, we remain very excited about BlackBerry’s future. “
T-Mobile later tried to make up by offering a limited-time $200 credit toward any new device when an older BlackBerry is traded in. Customers trading in an old BlackBerry for a newer BlackBerry would get an additional $50 off the price of the new phone.