BlackBerrys on Idea Cellular have become a reality. Idea Cellular and Research In Motion have tied up to bring the BlackBerry range of smartphones to India. From now, Idea Cellular subscribers can buy and use latest BlackBerry phones like BlackBerry Storm, BlackBerry World Edition 8830, BlackBerry Curve and BlackBerry Flip in Idea Cellular mobile networks.
BlackBerrys are sold across the world only through mobile network operators. The BlackBerry phones are locked to their operator, which means that if you buy a BlackBerry from Idea Cellular, it cannot be used with a Vodafone SIM card. However, unlocked BlackBerrys are increasingly available, and Research in Motion has indicated that they will soon start selling unlocked BlackBerry phones in India.
With the official introduction of BlackBerrys into its network, Idea Cellular becomes the fifth Indian mobile service provider to offer BlackBerrys. The others are Tata Indicom, Reliance Communications, Airtel and Vodafone. Airtel was the first Indian telecom provider to offer BlackBerrys. It was closely followed by Vodafone. Later, Reliance came in, followed by Tata Indicom. Idea Cellular said in a statement that Blackberry phones will be available at Idea Cellular outlets across 15 telecom circles in India.
At this point, there is no information on the planned service plans or charges for Blackberry on Idea Cellular.
In fact, even now, unlocked BlackBerry phones are used in Idea Cellular networks. However, till now, they were unable to make use of all facilities embedded in the BlackBerry phone. The unlocked phones were used mostly like any other cellphone, but minus the BlackBerry features.
All operator-sold BlackBerrys offer two types of email access: BlackBerry Internet service and BlackBerry Enterprise service. Blackberry Internet Service is enough if you access mail through common email service providers on the Net like GMail, Hotmail, Yahoo Mail etc. Whereas if you are keen to access corporate mail with Lotus and MS Exchange, you must go for the BlackBerry Enterprise service. (This author is using BlackBerry Internet Service).
All BlackBerrys come with a built-in instant messaging client called BlackBerry Messenger. This can be used to contact friends using BlackBerrys. Besides, a whole lot of applications are specifically built for BlackBerrys, for information and entertainment purposes. Now, Idea Cellular users can make the best of them by owning a BlackBerry phone.
“Idea Cellular has continuously endeavoured to enrich the lives of our customers through cutting-edge technology on our network. Our partnership with RIM to offer the BlackBerry solution with a rich portfolio of smartphones reinforces this commitment to our customers. With BlackBerry solution, IDEA customers can now stay connected and access information in a timely manner, thus increasing productivity and contributing to a better work-life balance,” said Pradeep Shrivastava, Chief Marketing Officer, Idea Cellular.
Idea has not yet announced the prices and tariffs of BlackBerry services. These are expected to be announced in a week’s time.
Yesterday, Research in Motion announced the launch of BlackBerry App World, on the lines of the iPhone App Store and the Nokia App Store. The BlackBerry App World is not online yet; once it goes live, BlackBerry customers will be able to log on to the App World website and download a variety of applications. There will be both free and paid applications available online. RIM said it will charge developers $200 to make an application to be hosted on the App World. If the application is rejected, the developer will be refunded the money. Paid application will be available from $1.99 onwards, RIM said. BlackBerry users on Idea Cellular will be able to download App World application as and when the store goes online. Watch this space for more.