BlackBerry and T-Mobile in “positive” discussion, handsets to make a return?

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During today’s Q4 earnings call – which was streamed live on YouTube for the first time – several questions were fielded after all the announcements were made. One of which came from a Twitter user who asked if BlackBerry handsets might make a return to T-Mobile. And, to those BlackBerry loyalists among the T-Mo subscriber base, Legere’s answer will come as welcome news.

Although there’s nothing specific to report in terms of timeframes or guarantees, John Legere did say that the two companies are in discussion. T-Mobile is optimistic about future partnership. Both companies know that there is a BlackBerry fanbase within T-Mo’s ranks who really want the two to work together. Discussions are “positive”, which should mean that – at some point – BlackBerry phones will make a return to T-Mobile’s shelves. It’s just a case of when, not if. They both want to make it happen.

Looking back to 2014, T-Mobile’s public fallout with BlackBerry was probably the one dark spot on the year. Initially, BlackBerry-toting magenta subscribers were sent promotional leaflets offering them a “great deal” on an iPhone 5c. The fall-out involved John Chen, BlackBerry’s CEO, calling out T-Mo’s move as “ill-conceived” and T-Mobile kicking off a “loyalty” program which essentially incentivized customers getting rid of their BlackBerry phones. The ordeal ended with the two companies ending their partnership. Since then, T-Mobile hasn’t stocked the Canadian firm’s wares.

Since then, BlackBerry has been on something of a comeback run. It’s nowhere near challenging Android or iOS for sales or market share, but in the enterprise market, the company’s latest Passport and Classic phones are selling well. Add those devices to the new, even more secure BES 12 system, and you have a very compelling solution for business. Both phones are also highly desirable to BlackBerry fans who won’t consider leaving the platform, and even to those who have switched platforms and want to switch back.

Would you like to see BlackBerry phones on T-Mo store shelves again? Do you think it’ll happen any time soon?

If you’d like to see the differences between the two new devices, check out my comparison video below:

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  • I have a z10. Hope T-mobile updates ota the new software for my phone today.

    • Verizonthunder

      Did you download the blackberry software on your computer? Try checking there first.

  • Daniel Darnell

    Honestly who cares, nobody uses Blackberry anymore and they now make up less than 1% of the market. Obviously T-Mobile is doing fine without them.

    • Neil R Mispelaar

      While it saddens me to say that your assertions about Mind Share and Market Share are probably true, it is really scary to think of a world with just two (or heaven forbid) one dominant platform.

      One of the reason’s why we’ve seen smartphones advance at the breakneck pace they have is because of the red hot competition in the market. Remove that competition and you will see companies respond.

      Just look at the Canadian Banks or Telcos to see what happens to an industry with little or no competition.

    • BadBatz

      Nonsense. A lot of people use BB, also on T-Mobile US. BB may be not for you but for many enterprise (or simply business) customers it still is a to-be-or-not-to-be thing. BB is a SYSTEM and has many attributes that no other phone can match: secure server infrastructure, enterprise connections, et cetera, just to name a few. Not to mention enterprise control over bloatware and absence of utter crap loaded on iPhone/Android devices by default (and impossible to get rid of.) And then there is the keyboard… No other phone has such a great keyboard, period, so if on-the-go email and messaging (BBM beats the stuffing out of all other IM systems) is your thing, you may want to try it. Pathological app addicts and users of Yo! need not apply :-)

      • Daniel Darnell

        Blackberry’s business market share has been slipping to many businesses have moved to iOS and even some to WP. I just don’t think Blackberry has a strong stance anymore. iOS is pretty secure and not full of bloatware like android and I see more and more business customers switching to iPhones and off BB. I honestly don’t know one person professional or otherwise that has a blackberry device.

        • 9to5Slavery

          ” I just don’t think Blackberry has a strong stance anymore”
          “I honestly don’t know one person professional or otherwise that has a blackberry device.”

          Just stop suggesting. If you don’t know then you don’t know. You don’t have to assume to know and make yourself an ass.

          Personal opinion.

          Are you running companies aligning the telecom or smartphone industry? Are you a professional analyst? Or are you are a nobody in the world making a worthless opinion?

        • Wayne Peterkin

          Well, it might not be personal opinion considering the way the market looks. Android is controlling 80 something percent and then there is iOS in the low double digits and then there is windows phone in single digits…probably 4 or 5 percent or so and then there is blackberry with under 2 percent. therefore, it can be concluded that he really hasn’t seen blackberry around even in the professional arena, these people have fun too. Blackberry doesn’t have a strong stance anymore which is true. In order for them to succeed in today’s market they have to impress the casual user as well which they have failed to do. Blackberry has acknowledged this fact and is trying to please everyone by going through all the trouble of getting Android apps to work on their platform. Why go through this extra work and expenditure if they did not know that they need to please the rest of the market to stay relevant? The military has their own version of Android, Samsung knox was also approved by the U.S. Dept. of defense so yeah, they know that they have to do something. Its good that blackberry is at least aware of their position.

        • Marco

          Uh not to put you down or anything Daniel but how many lawyers, stock analysts, and politicians do you know or have worked with?

        • Daniel Darnell

          My cousin is an attorney and I have a friend in CA that works directly under the governor of California in a very high position. He is issued a work phone and they use to be blackberry devices but they switched to iOS devices quite some time ago. None of his department uses BB’s anymore.

        • Marco

          That’s alright most of my firm uses blackberries. The main reason why companies don’t want to use blackberries is simple, they don’t want to spend more than they have to I.E. The subscription that went along with buying one, but with a lot of hacking going on I would not be surprised to see them making a comeback over the next few years.

        • Daniel Darnell

          Another issue here is what’s left of BB’s market share is business and T-Mobile is geared toward a consumer market. They have very few business customers the majority of those are on Verizon or AT&T. So I just don’t see much benefit from this T-Mobile is growing like crazy and they are a consumer carrier they don’t need to make a deal with Blackberry. I just don’t think the numbers are there between a almost non existent consumer market share on BB and T-Mobile having a small fraction of business customers. Unless T-Mobile decides to focus on the business market but companies/agencies etc… aren’t going to give T-Mobile a chance until the coverage is better and while it is getting better it’s still far behind Verizon and AT&T in overall coverage and is likely to stay that way for still a number of years if ever.

        • BadBatz

          That might be true but most certainly T-Mobile hasn’t been losing money on whatever number of BB users they have left on their rolls, business or otherwise. And for a third-rate carrier (“third-rate” in terms of coverage, but also in need of a better financial performance) any profit is better than no profit at all. As I said before, BB is a highly optimized SYSTEM, not just a headset, and that part is invaluable to many users.
          The new BB headset (brings back the joystick and keeps the near-original form factor) is great and, surprisingly, there are new BB apps, there’s a lot of intersystem messaging via BBM on Android, etc., and all this adds to the appeal.
          Then there’s a mater of choice… More options the merrier.

        • Wayne Peterkin

          you just said it yourself. they are growing like crazy. it would be wise for them to cover all their bases then. that’s probably why they are considering making this deal.

        • Marco

          So Dan, do you think we should have a duopoly in the phone market or no?

        • Daniel Darnell

          Nope and we don’t. We have Android, iOS, and Windows Phone. Typically it’s hard for four major players to survive in any market though so the fourth which in this case is Blackberry will eventually fail. The company is already up for sale so it’s just a matter of time. Blackberry won’t go away completely but it’s going to get out of hardware and be only a software company in the near future.

        • Marco

          Uh Dan in the last earnings call back in December they reported being cash flow positive on hardware. I’m pretty sure the idea of them being up for sale was valid about a year ago or more but it hasn’t been since John Chen took over as CEO. I do agree it’s hard for four players to survive in any market but then again you have to look at Xiamio in China which is operating on litter just 3% profit margin and they are doing numbers that even Samsung would love to have now. The market is the one who decides who lives and dies but they have proven they are a survivor in this intensely competitive market. They aren’t trying to get back the consumer market that much either but mainly focus on where the money is which is the enterprise market.

        • Daniel Darnell

          John Chen is a fool and shouldn’t be a CEO of anything technology related. He was pushing for an app neutrality law showing he doesn’t even grasp the concept of what net neutrality is. I don’t trust any company with a CEO that ignorant.

        • Nope and we don’t.

          Hate to break it to ya, but in the States, we do have a duopoly between IOS and Android. Windows Phone’s share is rising, but much slower than I hoped. We’re currently at 5% market share here.

          That’s bad for business.

    • 9to5Slavery

      This guy probably uses android and has one of the most closed mind in the community.

      • Wayne Peterkin

        Serious gadget enthusiasts, many of whom are Android users, normally have an open mind. No fun in being jaded.

    • Blackberry User

      That’s why Eric Schmidt the CEO of Google and the company that developed the Android OS uses a Blackberry. I wonder if Android or Iphone for that matter are so much better why he doesn’t use one of them?? By the way if you don’t believe me “google it” :-) Hint Hint he wouldn’t trust Google secrets to any of those platforms!!!

  • Rick Rudge

    Personally, I use an iPhone, but I’m happy to see that T-Mobile is trying to bring back the Blackberry to its stores. Just as there are die-hard iPhone users on T-Mobile, there have been the die-hard Crackberry fans. I would be happy to see the support and sales of this again. I would also like to see better devices available to T-Mobile. I had heard that not the latest and greatest Blackberrys were made available to T-Mobile and maybe we’ll see this change too.

  • Paul Garrison

    Good for both of them, they are acting like adults or at least like companies that want to make money.

  • Zacamandapio

    Those are great news. Although I like my lower bill (Z30 no insurance and all) I would like for T-mobile to sell the passport. I had that phone and it’s great. In a trip to Mexico someone saw it and fell in love with it and bought it from me. I spent the money there!!
    So if Tmo did this that would be super.

    • skittle

      Great story :) They must have made you a good offer.

      • Zacamandapio

        $900

  • sidekick

    They should make a high end blackberry sidekick as a peace treaty

  • Roger Sales

    They should sell their devices online(hopefully band 4/12 optimized), but they are not really worth shelf space. I don’t know anyone at the other 3 carriers going to a store to pick up a damn blackberry – the ones from 3 years ago still maintain the functionality that made them useful.

    • Subliminal7X

      Their marketing must be poor over there. They have been selling devices online and unlocked for some time now. shopblackberry.com has been quite active with discounted prices on handsets. Amazon has been selling them actively with models like the Passport getting 5 stars from 80% of the reviewers.

    • eanfoso

      The z30 and passport do have band 4 both hspa and LTE

  • jacky

    people still use blackberry? thats news to me? everyone i know uses htc one, samsung note 4 and iphone 6 plus.

    • Wayne Peterkin

      Very narrow minded bunch, lol.

    • mn253

      The idiocy in this statement amazes me.

  • TY BB

    I just want to thank Blackberry for saving me $200 on a Nexus 5 when the mishap happened…

    Although it is very frustrating when trying to decide on a new phone because after only paying 170 for the Nexus 5 the pricetags on other phones seem to high….

  • gmo8492

    There really isn’t a significant benefit for T-mobile if they start selling BB devices again. BB should be the one begging T-mobile to take them back.

    • archerian

      solid hardware with the ability to run Android apps.

      • eanfoso

        Don’t forget the highest security rank from any OS oh and no lag

        • Wayne Peterkin

          AOSP doesn’t lag.

      • Wayne Peterkin

        You might be missing his point. He didn’t state that the platform was bad. it is actually quiet good and I was considering getting the passport but decided that Android was better for me. What he was saying (I hope) was that most consumers don’t want a blackberry simply because of brand loyalty.

        • archerian

          you might be right, chances are that most consumers DO want a blackberry simply because of brand loyalty.

        • Wayne Peterkin

          That’s delusional. t-mobile didnt decide to stop selling blackberries because they were selling like hot cakes. they stopped because blackberries weren’t selling and had a market share south of 4%. Sorry, the market has spoken, in my opinion out of ignorance, and have stated that they don’t care for Blackberry at the moment. Their numbers stated that there is no brand loyalty.

        • archerian

          sigh, let me rephrase what I said for you – most of few the people left who will willingly buy a BB will be buying it due to their brand loyalty TO IT. Call it loyalty, die-hard fans whatever.

        • Wayne Peterkin

          lol, cool. Sorry about that. That makes sense.

        • CBC Listener

          TMo didn’t stop selling BBS. Chen and company pulled (as in did not renew) the marketing contract with TMO, due in large part to TMo’s lackluster support for the devices, as well as the cannibalistic effort to switch BlackBerry users to Samsung or Apple.

        • Wayne Peterkin

          Though that might be true T-Mobile didn’t pull any punches even after BlackBerry cried foul, they just kept going

        • CBC Listener

          And while that may be true, most of that was just Legere having another fit.

        • Wayne Peterkin

          Yeah, and look at where the business relationship ended up. That’s my main point here. Legere represents T-Mobile and what he said and how BB reacted landed both companies in this mess. If T-Mobile truly wanted Blackberry as a partner at the time they would have went into damage control, not keep pushing forward.

        • Sorry, the market has spoken, in my opinion out of ignorance, and have stated that they don’t care for Blackberry at the moment.

          Sadly, you are correct: people in the US are blinded by infotainment, Apple and Google. We don’t like to look at all of our options.

        • 21stNow

          I disagree with this sentiment. There are several iOS and Android users that are perfectly happy with their devices. If their devices work for them, why should they shop the market for something else?

          I give all four of the major platforms a try on a regular basis. I’m beginning to see that Android works best for my needs, in many ways.

  • audirocs

    I’m a TMO customer and yes, I use a Blackberry Z10 because I’m a professional. I called TMO a few minutes ago and they have no release date for the 10.3 OS update. If BB comes back to TMO, I’ll probably cop the Classic. I hope this gets resolved.

    • Subliminal7X

      I have a couple of UK version Z10s, one of which got the 10.3.1 OTA update, but the other which had in a Caribbean SIM card, didn’t show any available update. I stuck in a UK sim and it received the OTA update. If you can’t wait for US carrier updates (which usually take forever), download Sachesi on you Mac or PC, do the Search function using country code 234 (UK) and operator code 10 (O2), 15 (Vodafone UK) or 20 (3 UK). Check ‘Download all’. On a Mac, the Firmware folder is stored in Applications, I’m not sure about the PC, so you’d have to search it as it would be named after the software version (10.3.1.xxxx). Select ‘Install’ – Install folder- select the downloaded folder and there you go.

      • jelp2

        The only problem with that is no wifi calling.

  • archerian

    Come on Mike Sievert, do the BB promo like last year so we can all get $200 off Nexus 6 or iPhones for 10 year old blackberries…

    • Brian

      You had from around June thru December (7 months) to get that $200 off going from a BlackBerry to a Samsung and $100 off going to any other smartphone. I think there was also a trade-in promo before that one as well so you had plenty of time to take advantage of the rebates. If you didn’t, that’s really on you. The Galaxy S5 was on promo for $509 at the end of the year so $309 after the $200 rebate would be a bargain and you could have turned around and sold it for at least $500. Don’t ask T-Mobile for more than they have already graciously offered.

      • archerian

        graciously offered? the original $200 off any working BB was born out of a need to spite BB’s Chen over a media spat, nothing holistic about it. Now T-mobile cannot afford to lose any users due to not supporting a platform, however small the number.

        • eanfoso

          In the mean time they lost 5 of us because of their lack of Windows phones, hopefully they bring high end phones soon.

  • noelsito

    I have more faith in a new Sidekick phone than Tue Blackberry brand.

  • Tinger12

    I would love to get a BB Passport. I would not use it as my main phone, but for my backup line it would be great.

    • eanfoso

      Get a z30, I have a z10 and dude, it is the best phone when it comes to multitasking, I love playing YouTube videos on the background while texting people, you can’t do that just yet with any other OS

      • Wayne Peterkin

        yes you can on Android. Say what you want about Android but it can do just about anything really due to the nature of its design.

        • whitemike

          I just hated all of the app.forced.quit.com errors..

  • slebdog

    I would welcome T-Mobile selling BB again. BB works best for me, and I really didn’t want to switch back to AT&T to get the latest phone. I wonder if T-Mobile would require that the new BB phones work over WIFI?

  • gameovertime1

    You know what this means right?
    Windows Phone users will remain searching for a flagship… Even Blackberry will offer a premium device.

  • CBC Listener

    I bought a Passport from BlackBerry late last year. There’s no need to wait for a renewed partnership with T-Mobile, you know…although there’s no WiFi calling.

    • whitemike

      Yup. That stinks. But bbm voice with natural sound is pretty awesome.

  • Enchalada

    Yes, and hopefully soon. . .

  • I am an unabashed Windows phone fan, but I would love to see Blackberry be introduced as an option for both phones and tablets. We got four competitive carriers, so we need to have four competitive operating systems: IOS/Mac (Apple), Android (Google), Windows (Microsoft) and Blackberry.

  • If TMo really is the 3rd carrier now, Blackberry needs T-Mobile more that T-Mobile needs it. Its a dead brand that ruled the smart phones 10 years ago. The only positive about BB is a physical keyboard,and that’s about it. The app store suffers from the same issues as Windows Phone,lack of apps available on the other platforms.

    • Spineless

      One minor correction… Blackberry suffers from the same issue Windows Phone use to suffer from.

      Windows Phone has moved on from the days of not having many apps. Windows Phone has 100’s of thousands of apps, passing 300,000 August of last year. Blackberry has nothing close to that. So no, they don’t have the same issue. Blackberry figuratively has no apps, yet people keep saying that Windows Phone doesn’t have any when the opposite has been true for quite some time.

      • whitemike

        Correction, BlackBerry 10 has built for BlackBerry App, Amazon app store, and direct access to android entire play store. Windows phone are so bad sadly. I’m a windows tech. I don’t know how many apps that is cause it really doesn’t matter with BlackBerry 10 having the highest html5 score as apps are moving to browsers.. like Google maps, and uber.

        • mn253

          Sideloading the game snap apk file allows 100pct full access to androids entire app store. Just an fyi, and I love my passport. Phenomenal power, I put it against any phone on themarket for everything besides apps.

  • John Myers

    T-Mobile owes its customers who have been loyal to the carrier and still prefer to use their BBs to reconcile with the childish feud and provide what all customers want: CHOICE.

  • Wayne Peterkin

    Some apps are better written than others and some phones are better than others and I rarely have that issue on my phone. Blackberry runs android apps and while I used it on my playbook there were a couple crashes. I’ve seen how slowly the passport plays these android apps so I wonder how stable it is.