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Nigerian operators in BlackBerry price war

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BlackBerry Bold 9900 (Image: file photo)

GSM networks in Nigeria have embarked on a BlackBerry price war to encourage mobile subscribers to convert to their networks.

In an apparent response to other networks in the country, Airtel Nigeria has introduced a new a new BlackBerry bundle – BConnected.

The BConnected bundle offers BlackBerry Messenging (BBM), as well as access to social networks, Twitter, Facebook and MySpace. It also offers access to monthly, weekly or daily plans on the expiration of a 30-day free trial period.

The bundle is priced at N1,580 (about $11) monthly and excludes e-mail services which most other BlackBerry services include. The current price is significantly less than the cost of the standard service which includes an e-mail service.

The standard service is priced between N2 800 and N3 000 (about $20) by various other networks, including Airtel.

Nigerian mobile analysts believe Airtel is targeting the over 600,000 GSM subscribers in Nigeria who use the BlackBerry device but do not subscribe to the BlackBerry service, as most subscribers can’t afford the full BlackBerry package.

Nigeria has about 925 000 active BlackBerry handsets on its four GSM networks – MTN, Globacom, Airtel and Etisalat, but only about 300 000 subscribe to the standard services.

By: Bimbo Omitooki

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