UAE BlackBerry users remain in dark over BBMV
Canadian firm remains tight-lipped over voice service negotiations with regulator, telcos
BlackBerry users and agents are still in the dark over when a key voice feature of its latest smartphone will be introduced in the UAE, with the Canadian manufacturer reluctant to reveal what the issues are with the country's operators and regulators and a likely timeline for its introduction.
BlackBerry Messenger Voice (BBMV) allows customers to make free phone calls over Wi-Fi and is a key feature of the new BlackBerry 10 platform, which was officially launched in January.
Despite Dubai being one of the key cities included as part of a global launch across six major cities, BBMV is still not available to UAE BlackBerry users.
"BBM Voice was launched in some markets in the region, so it is available in KSA [Kingdom of Saudi Arabia] for instance, and some of the other markets we are working through with the operators and various regulators in terms of getting that supported," Nick Horton, BlackBerry's new Middle East managing director, told Arabian Business in an interview.
A report in the Wall Street Journal in January said BlackBerry was in talks with UAE operators du and Etisalat over concerns BBMV will impact revenue streams. BlackBerry is also in talks with the UAE's Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), which has apparently encouraged operators to allow the service to be activated, the report added.
However, neither Horton nor Rick Costanzo, BlackBerry's executive vice president of global sales, were able to divulge the issues or concerns hindering the introduction of the service or offer a timeline for progress on talks surrounding the issue.
"I am not really at liberty to talk specifically about where the issues are... But we would like to have [talks] as soon as possible," Horton said.