BlackBerry going from strength to strength in SA: RIM

BlackBerry continues to lose market share internationally, and despite Research In Motion (RIM) CEO, Thorsten Heins’s promise to turn the embattled company around, investors remain skeptical about the future of the smartphone player.

Heins, presiding over his first annual meeting since taking the helm at RIM recently, offered little to disgruntled shareholders beyond his faith in the power of the BlackBerry 10 line to reverse RIM’s fortunes. Its battered stock fell another 5 percent after he spoke.

However, the situation looks far better for RIM in South Africa. BlackBerry smartphones continue to dominate the local smartphone market, and this growth is likely to continue.

According to Bob Bose, regional managing director for Africa at RIM, BlackBerry is growing from strength to strength in South Africa, and their products are enjoying stellar sales in both the consumer and professional segments.

“Research from GfK Retail and Technology confirms that BlackBerry accounted for 7 devices out of the 10 best-selling smartphones in South Africa in May 2012,” said Bose.

Bose added that GfK data also shows that BlackBerry has been a leading smartphone vendor in South Africa in May 2012 for over 20 months.

A BlackBerry smartphone remains one of the most desired gadgets to South African youths, and combined with a flat-rated data plan and its popular messaging platform (BBM), BlackBerry remains well-positioned in South Africa.

“The youth market especially loves BBM which enables them to share text and voice messages, pictures and video clips. BBM penetration in South Africa is amongst the highest in the world – 98% of the local BlackBerry user base uses BBM,” said Bose.

Despite BlackBerry’s strong market share in developing world markets like South Africa, many industry players are concerned about RIM’s future and their ability to continue to support their international network infrastructure.

Bose downplays these concerns, saying that the BlackBerry infrastructure and services are among their most valuable assets. “BlackBerry customers depend on our robust network and they can continue to depend on it going forward,” said Bose.

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BlackBerry going from strength to strength in SA: RIM