The new model comes with a host of applications customised for the Indian market
Bad news for BlackBerry and its Indian users. Both Vodafone and Aircel have revealed that the unlimited data service that had become a hallmark of BlackBerry devices in India will not be offered with the just-released BlackBerry Z10 on their respective networks.
On Monday, BlackBerry introduced its new Z10 smartphone in India with a price tag of Rs. 43,490, aimed at competing with Apple and Samsung in the lucrative smartphone market.
It also released its re-invented BlackBerry 10 platform. Details of Aircel’s new data plans for the BlackBerry 10 have emerged, however, revealing that the operator will not be offering any form of unlimited data plan with the device.
“There will be no unlimited BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) service package as there has been in the past. We have an integrated deal with 1GB data, 250 Aircel-to-Aircel and 250 minutes voice for three months at a charge of Rs. 153,” an Aircel spokesperson said.
The lack of unlimited data service could prove to be a dampener for BlackBerry in India, as the company has done well in the youth segment mainly driven by the lure of unlimited BBM.
While Vodafone has not yet come out with the details of its data plans for the BlackBerry 10, sources say that it is unlikely to have the option of an unlimited BBM package.
An Airtel spokesperson declined to comment on whether the company would be tying up for BlackBerry 10 and the Z10.
There was industry speculation, before the launches of the BlackBerry 10 and Z10 in India, that certain BlackBerry services could be capped as the new version of BBM offers advanced features that are likely to consume copious amounts of data.
Though the Z10 has been launched in Canada and the U.K, the India launch comes before the U.S release, an indication of how important this market is to the company.
According to CyberMedia Research, BlackBerry’s market share in the Indian smartphone market stood at 12.1 per cent during the Jan-June 2012 period.
Special Correspondent from Mumbai adds:
BlackBerry 10 comes with a last-minute hotel room booking application called RoomsTonite which was also launched on Monday. Specifically designed for corporate travellers and impulsive holiday goers, the app is available for download on the BlackBerry World storefront for free, and provides hotel details of key travel destinations in India. Users can search for accommodation, book and receive confirmation of hotel rooms’ bookings in real time while on the move.
Multiplex company PVR also announced its ‘PVR Wallet’ app for the BlackBerry 10 platform. “With this, movie-goers can now ‘tap & pay’ for movie tickets and refreshments without using paper money across 15 PVR cinemas in various cities ,” said Pramod Arora, Group President & CEO, PVR Ltd.
HDFC Bank has also developed an app for this BlackBerry model to provide enhanced banking and bill payment solutions for its customers on the move.
The BlackBerry Z10, both in white and black colours, will be available in over 2,000 retail outlets across 50 cities in India from Tuesday.