Yu Mobile Kenya launches BlackBerry services

Mobile network operator Yu Mobile has started offering BlackBerry services in Kenya, joining Airtel, Safaricom and Orange in offering such a package to their customers.

The service will be offered to corporate customers as well as individuals and will come with an offer of free service for two months.

The company will have four BlackBerry handsets available – Bold 9900, Bold 9780, Torch 9800 and Curve 8520 – for purchase, inclusive of the monthly payment plans.

The company said it the devices will not be locked to the Yu Network, making it easier for customers to switch between networks.

“BlackBerry is more than just devices, it’s a complete solution and encompasses email, instant messaging and browsing on the Internet using their services,” the company said.

The BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion (RIM) has been facing stiff competition across the globe, though its African operations seem to be stronger than elsewhere.

A report in August this year had BlackBerry as the second most favoured smartphone brand in South Africa, after Nokia. BlackBerry has flourished in the country, with its market share rising from 4 percent to 18 percent. It has drawn level with Samsung, which has fallen from 28 percent to 18 percent in the last 18 months, the report said.

In Nigeria, the smartphone has a chance to make an impact, according to a report by Crackberry.com. The country currently has a very small smartphone market, with only 5 percent of phone users owning one. However, BlackBerry is the number one smartphone brand, with half of that market already using the RIM devices.

RIM further pledged its commitment to the continent by opening its retail store in Lagos, Nigeria recently. This signals the company’s intention to capture the African smartphone market, which, according to some reports, is still in its infancy.

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