By Olubunmi Adeniyi
Lagos. October 24, 2012: Nigeria’s leading telecoms operator, Visafone today broke an African record in Lagos by launching three new models of CDMA-based Blackberry smartphones in partnership with Research in Motion (RIM), a global leader in wireless innovation.
Visafone launched three variants of the smartphones including the Blackberry Curve 9310, Blackberry Curve 9370 and Blackberry Bold 9930, all of which will be available in the Nigerian market for maximum prices of N39, 000, N59, 500 and N90, 000 respectively. Subscribers will be able to take pre-bookings for the three models in all Visafone shops nationwide from October 26, 2012.
Today’s launch of the three models’ launch makes Visafone the first network operator to introduce CDMA-enabled Blackberry smartphones in Africa.
According to the company, the combination of the Blackberry smartphones with Blackberry service will give Visafone customers access to email, Internet and social networking apps, including Blackberry Messenger (BBM), Facebook and Twitter, among other services.
Jim Ovia, Chairman of Visafone, said at the launch that, “we have responded to our customers’ demand for Blackberry services by being the first to provide them with a suite of CDMA-enabled Blackberry smartphones that best meets the region’s growing mobile needs.”
According to him, more broadly, this launch is a major boost to the Nigerian Communications Commission’s (NCC) efforts to achieve growth of data usage and quality voice services to the country’s 105 million active mobile phone lines.
Ovia added that Visafone used the right strategy with the RIM partnership to become the number one CDMA company in Nigeria, adding that this “partnership represents a big step forward in Africa’s mobile history. We are very excited to be at the forefront of such a ground-breaking development in the Nigerian market.
Waldi Wepener, RIM’s Regional Director, East, Central and West Africa, said: “We are proud to support Visafone with the launch of the Blackberry solution to their customers in Nigeria to bring CDMA-enabled Blackberry smartphones to the region with Visafone for the first time.”
The Blackberry solution from Visafone offers customers a strong selection of smartphones and a wide range of services that connects them to people and information around the country, across the continent and throughout the world, Wepener said.
He said RIM chose Visafone as its partner because of the operator’s wide reach across the country, adding that “we have seen impressive growth of smartphones in the Nigerian market.”
Blackberry Curve 9310 is a slim, easy-to-use smartphone ready to help customers make the move from a basic phone to a smartphone. It supports the entire core Blackberry messaging and social-centric applications that let customers easily connect to the people and things that matter most to them. Running on Blackberry 7.1, the Curve 9310 features an iconic Blackberry keyboard for quick and easy typing and a dedicated BBM key that supports instant access to RIM’s popular mobile social network, Visafone said.
Aside the stylish and easy-to-use feature of Curve 9370, the phone comes with built-in GPS and Wi-Fi support, as well as a 5MP camera with flash and video recording.
The flagship Blackberry Bold 9930 is the thinnest Blackberry smartphone yet and the first to offer the perfect union of a high-performance keyboard and touch display integrated within the iconic Blackberry Bold design, says Visafone.
“It is a world phone that supports global roaming and comes with Wi-Fi connectivity. It has industry-leading keyboard, responsive high-resolution touch screen and support for high-speed networks. It also features NFC technology and Blackberry tag which allows customers to share contact information documents, URLs, photos and other multimedia content by simply tapping their Blackberry smartphones together.”