T-Mobile Aiming To Be First With BlackBerry Z10 Launch In The U.S. With Mid-March Release | TechCrunch
T-Mobile says that BlackBerry’s new Z10 smartphone is “more stable than … anticipated,” and could potentially get a faster-than-expected launch on the network. As it stands, the new BB10-based smartphone looks to be on track for a mid-March release, according to statements made by T-Mobile USA Head of Business Sales Frank Sickinger speaking to Bloomberg today. The company anticipates it could be the first U.S. carrier “out of the gate” with BB10 as a result, according to the report.
Anticipated launch dates for the BlackBerry Z10 in the U.S. had pointed to a March 27 launch on T-Mobile, according to a leaked roadmap published by TmoNews earlier this week. While that date may have originally been accurate based on the carrier’s assumption of how long the Z10 would take to clear testing, Sickinger’s words today suggest that the timeframe has been pushed up.
The Z10 is already out and available in the Canadian and U.K. markets, and BlackBerry has been issuing reports of early sales success in both countries. The launch in Canada on Rogers is reported to have seen initial sales numbering in the “thousands,” making for a record launch day for a single BlackBerry device, and in the U.K. many outlets report being sold out. That said, BlackBerry still isn’t releasing any specific sales numbers, which casts some doubt on how successful sales have actually been, in relative terms compared to the larger smartphone industry.
The Z10 will retail on T-Mobile for $199 with a new two-year agreement, and will be offered to business customers ahead of its consumer launch, with about a week’s worth of lead time. If T-Mobile can get the Z10 in customer hands a bit faster than its competition, that might help it win over some more business customers to its cause. But this could just spur other carriers to try to speed up their own testing processes, which should please the eager U.S.-based BB-heads out there.