Nigeria’s Visafone first African operator to release CDMA-based BlackBerry

Nigeria’s leading network operator Visafone became the first in Africa to release CDMA-based BlackBerry smartphones last week.

Visafone launched three CDMA-based Blackberry smartphones following a partnership with Research in Motion (RIM), a universal leader in wireless innovation.

The BlackBerry Curve 9310, BlackBerry Curve 9370 and BlackBerry Bold 9930 are available on the Nigerian market for N39,000 (US$250), N59,500 (US$380) and N90,000 (US$575) respectively.

These BlackBerries will provide users with email, Internet and social networking applications like BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), Facebook and Twitter, Visafone said.

“We have responded to our customers’ demand for BlackBerry services by being the first to provide them with a suite of CDMA-enabled BlackBerry smartphones that best meets the region’s growing mobile needs,” Jim Ovia, Chairman of Visafone, stated at the launch last Wednesday. 

According to Visafone, the flagship BlackBerry Bold 9930 is the thinnest BlackBerry smartphone to date. It offers “the perfect union high-performance keyboard and touch display integrated within the iconic BlackBerry Bold design.”

The slender, user-friendly BlackBerry Curve 9310 is the ideal choice in switching from basic to BlackBerry. The phone also comes with BBM and other social application with a practical keyboard and BBM key, providing direct access to RIM’s mobile social network.

As for the Curve 9370, the device has a built-in GPS and Wi-Fi support, apart from a 5MP camera and other slick and simple functions that the phone offers.

RIM’s Regional Director Waldi Wepener said: “We are proud to support Visafone with the launch of the BlackBerry solution to their customers in Nigeria to bring CDMA-enabled BlackBerry smartphones to the region with Visafone for the first time.”

Wepener explained further that their choice in partnership was motivated by the service provider’s broad scope, countrywide

Ovia said that the partnership with RIM “represents a big step forward in Africa’s mobile history. We are very excited to be at the forefront of such a ground-breaking development in the Nigerian market”.

He views this introduction as an incredible advance for the growth of data usage and quality voice services to the 105 million active mobile phone lines nationwide, contributing to the work of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC). 

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