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T-Mobile, BlackBerry Flirt With Reuniting

BlackBerry and T-Mobile are considering kissing and making up, but only if their CEOs can get along.

Sarah Thomas

December 17, 2014

2 Min Read
T-Mobile, BlackBerry Flirt With Reuniting

After a bitter breakup in February, the CEOs of T-Mobile and BlackBerry are flirting with the idea of giving their relationship another try.

As a refresher on the relationship drama, T-Mobile US Inc. CEO John Legere took a break from attacking AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Verizon Wireless early this year to go after its handset partner BlackBerry . It offered BlackBerry users who switched to its network a new iPhone, inciting outrage in BlackBerry CEO John Chen who took to a blog post to ask its customers to share their outrage with T-Mobile. (See BlackBerry's Chen Lashes Out at T-Mobile Offer.)

Legere conceded that T-Mobile would continue to support BlackBerry and eventually stopped the promo. However, Chen wouldn't stand for the abuse. BlackBerry decided to not renew its licensing deal with T-Mobile after it ended on April 25. (See BlackBerry Kills T-Mobile Licensing Deal.)

For more on BlackBerry's tumultuous ride in the smartphone market, peruse the dedicated mobile devices and smartphone content channel here on Light Reading.

Now it appears the two are warming to the possibility of revisiting the relationship. Answering media questions after T-Mobile's Uncarrier 8.0 launch on Tuesday, Legere said that he's open to finding a way for T-Mobile customers to have BlackBerry phones, provided the handset maker cooperates. Chen then told CNet today at its BlackBerry Classic event that he was also open to it and should connect with Legere (although I imagine he'd like to do it in person and not over Twitter).

Chen's boldness back in February was a surprise given the handset maker's struggles in the market. It really wasn't in a position then to kick any operators to the curb, but -- then again -- it probably didn't stand to lose much by ditching T-Mobile, which wasn't a marquee partner like AT&T or Verizon, at the time. Now, with today's launch of the Classic throwback smartphone for BlackBerry faithfuls and the recent Passport launch, it's back to needing all the help it can get to promote its new devices. (See BlackBerry's Passport to Success Is Services.)

For T-Mobile's part, I'm sure there are a few rash things Legere says or does that he wishes he could take back (or certainly that his company wishes he could). This would definitely be one of them. I wouldn't be surprised if we see this erstwhile pair burying the hatchet and getting back together in time for the new year. The holidays seem to have a way of bringing people together that way.

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

About the Author(s)

Sarah Thomas

Director, Women in Comms

Sarah Thomas's love affair with communications began in 2003 when she bought her first cellphone, a pink RAZR, which she duly "bedazzled" with the help of superglue and her dad.

She joined the editorial staff at Light Reading in 2010 and has been covering mobile technologies ever since. Sarah got her start covering telecom in 2007 at Telephony, later Connected Planet, may it rest in peace. Her non-telecom work experience includes a brief foray into public relations at Fleishman-Hillard (her cussin' upset the clients) and a hodge-podge of internships, including spells at Ingram's (Kansas City's business magazine), American Spa magazine (where she was Chief Hot-Tub Correspondent), and the tweens' quiz bible, QuizFest, in NYC.

As Editorial Operations Director, a role she took on in January 2015, Sarah is responsible for the day-to-day management of the non-news content elements on Light Reading.

Sarah received her Bachelor's in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She lives in Chicago with her 3DTV, her iPad and a drawer full of smartphone cords.

Away from the world of telecom journalism, Sarah likes to dabble in monster truck racing, becoming part of Team Bigfoot in 2009.

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