Visafone has signed a partnership agreement with Blackberry-maker Research in Motion (RIM) in a move viewed as geared towards raising its stake in Nigeria’s smartphone and data sector.
Under the partnership, Visafone will provide Blackberry services on its Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) mobile network.
According to the chairman of the CDMA telecoms company Jim Ovia, the agreement with RIM is another milestone in Nigeria’s highly competitive market, which makes Visafone the first company to introduce CDMA-enabled BlackBerry smartphones in Africa and the Middle East.
Jim also described the agreement with RIM as a critical aspect of Visafone’s data strategy.
“This partnership represents a big step forward in Africa’s mobile history and we are excited to be at the forefront of such a ground-breaking development in Nigeria.
“We have responded to our customers’ demands for Blackberry services by being the first to provide them with a suite of CDMA-enabled BlackBerry smartphones that best meet the region’s growing mobile needs,” Ovia said.
At the launching held in Lagos, the partnering companies disclosed that from Monday, October 29, prospective subscribers can begin to pre-book Blackberry Curve 9310, Curve 9370 and Bold 9930 devices in all 88 Visafone shops nationwide.
Speaking on behalf of RIM, Waldi Wepener, RIM regional director for East, Central and West Africa, said the company is proud to support the Nigerian mobile industry by debuting its CDMA enabled Blackberry phones in the country.
“Our partnership with Visafone demonstrates RIM’s commitment to working with key partners in Africa, to bring the widest range of services to people that want to be connected across the continent,” he said.
He also added that the CDMA-enabled BlackBerry smartphones will run on BB 7.1 Operating
System (OS), which introduces a next-generation browser that is regarded as one of the best in the smartphone industry, and come with hotspot functionality.
“All the new BlackBerry smartphones can be used as mobile hotspots so that other Wi-Fi enabled devices can use the mobile network connection on the smartphone,” Wepener added.