BlackBerry Kills T-Mobile Licensing Deal

BlackBerry is killing its licensing deal with T-Mobile in the US after bad blood between the device maker and the operator.

BlackBerry has said that it won't renew its licensing deal with T-Mobile US Inc. when it ends on April 25. The ailing device maker, however, says it will continue to support existing customers on the T-Mobile network and any buyers of T-Mobile's existing inventory of BlackBerry devices. (See BlackBerry Q4 Sales Sink to Sub-$1B.)

"BlackBerry has had a positive relationship with T-Mobile for many years. Regretfully, at this time, our strategies are not complementary and we must act in the best interest of our BlackBerry customers. We hope to work with T-Mobile again in the future when our business strategies are aligned," said BlackBerry CEO, John Chen, in a statement.

The spat started in February after T-Mobile started a campaign trying to tempt BlackBerry users onto its network with the offer of an iPhone. It dropped the deal after angry reactions by customers and BlackBerry's Chen, but evidently that wasn't enough to stop this fallout. (See BlackBerry's Chen Lashes Out at T-Mobile Offer.)

T-Mobile CEO John Legere typically takes to Twitter to respond to customers and all kinds of events, but hasn't commented on the latest BlackBerry move so far.

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

COMMENTS Add Comment
Mitch Wagner 4/4/2014 | 7:27:40 PM
Re: You go, girl Fourth-ranked handset maker cuts off fourth-ranked phone company. Hard to see this making much difference to many people other than BlackBerry, which needs all the customers it can get. 

Ianbrown - "... as the ship keeps sinking the last thing you should be doing is putting more holes in the boat."

Exactly -- not even if the hole is very small. 
Sarah Thomas 4/4/2014 | 11:40:10 AM
Re: You go, girl AT&T is taking advantage of the situation to remind people it still <3 BlackBerry. It said in a statement:

"AT&T loves BlackBerry customers and we welcome them to switch to the nation's most reliable 4G LTE network, with Mobile Share Value plans that offer amazing value for individuals, families and small businesses. Qualified BlackBerry customers can get a new BlackBerry device from AT&T for $0 down and no annual service contract with AT&T Next, bring their own device, or get a device on a traditional contract. 

In all of these scenarios, customers may be able to take advantage of the $100 bill credit for each new qualified line of postpaid wireless service added until April 30. Needless to say, it's never been a better time to switch to AT&T. In addition, we have other very attractive plans for business and government customers using BlackBerry devices. "

lanbrown 4/3/2014 | 4:12:15 PM
Re: You go, girl So in the end, BlackBerry is only hurting themselves in this.  I do see a business possibly switch carriers if they can no longer get BlackBerry handsets from T-Mobile.  I have a feeling that in the near future we will see BlackBerry return to T-Mobile with neither side admitting defeat, but we all know it will probably be BlackBerry that came back begging.
Sarah Thomas 4/3/2014 | 2:55:32 PM
Re: You go, girl All fair points. And consumers won't see it as BlackBerry's stickin it to T-Mobile. They'll just see it as T-Mobile is no longer carrying BlackBerry, so it's even less relevant than it once was. And, yes, I think people would switch phones more readily than switching carriers over this.
lanbrown 4/3/2014 | 2:48:40 PM
Re: You go, girl Does T-Mobile need BlackBerry or does BlackBerry need T-Mobile?  With how BlackBerry has been doing, they need T-Mobile, they need all of the help they can get.  If someone likes T-Mobile service and when they go to get a new BlackBerry, they will have zero options.  It is a guarantee that the customer will switch, the question is on the switch; will it be away from BlackBerry or to a different mobile carrier?  BlackBerry is losing market share and reducing the availability of your product is not going to help.


Chen cold also be showing how foolish he is, as the ship keeps sinking the last thing you should be doing is putting more holes in the boat.  The industry has already been pushing BlackBerry around; the smaller their market share, the less carriers care what they have to say or offer.  I'm sure at onetime BlackBerry was able to command a premium from the carriers to offer the BlackBerry service, those days are over.  I know several large companies that have moved away from BlackBerry.


In 2007 BlackBerry needed to get out of the handset side and concentrate on the server software and offering the BlackBerry client for various phone; Android, iOS, etc.  Now it is too late as companies like Good and Seven are doing pretty much just that.
Sarah Thomas 4/3/2014 | 12:48:30 PM
Re: You go, girl Yeah, T-Mobile could've probably made it right to stop BlackBerry from pulling out, but didn't want to or need to, I imagine.
Sarah Thomas 4/3/2014 | 12:47:58 PM
Re: You go, girl Doubtful, although I don't see AT&T or Vodafone making such an offer like T-Mobile's iPhone ploy either.
Kruz 4/3/2014 | 3:50:24 AM
Re: You go, girl This wouldnt have happened if both parties were not sure they had little to loose by ending the partnership.
DanJones 4/2/2014 | 7:27:59 PM
Re: You go, girl I dunno, I wonder if Chen would have been so hard-ball if it had been say AT&T or Vodafone doing this. 
Sarah Thomas 4/2/2014 | 4:48:19 PM
You go, girl As one headline said, beggars can't be choosers, but I like that BlackBerry made this move. It's showing the world no one can push them around. Whether that proves to be true remains to be seen, but I think it's good Chen wouldn't let T-Mo treat it that way.
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