BlackBerry Z10 Gets US Price Cut Just Four Months After Launch

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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BlackBerry says its the right time for a price cut

US operators are slashing the price of the BlackBerry Z10 by up to 75 percent, just over four months since the handset was released in the country.

AT&T and Verizon Wireless have both cut the cost of the device from $199 to $99 with a two-year plan, making it far cheaper than rival smartphones from the likes of Apple and Samsung, while retailers Amazon and Best Buy are stocking the Z10 for $49.99 with a contract.

It is not clear whether the reductions will happen in the UK, but a price cut so early in the smartphone’s life suggests that BlackBerry is keen to increase sales of the handset, which launched in the UK in February.

BlackBerry Z10 price cut

BlackBerry Z10 Tall“Like any other smartphone maker, we, along with our partners, make adjustments as we roll out new elements of the product portfolio. And with the recent arrival of our flagship BlackBerry Q10 smartphone, now is the right time to adjust the price for the BlackBerry Z10 all touch device,” the Canadian manufacturer told TechWeekEurope, in a statement.

“As we have said, we will be introducing several BlackBerry 10 devices before the end of our fiscal year. It’s part of life cycle management to tier the pricing for current devices to make room for the next ones. This is just one element of our marketing strategy that will ensure we remain aggressive in a very competitive market landscape.”

The company’s share price has slumped by 33 percent following a £55 million loss in its most recently quarterly results and disappointing sales of devices running the BlackBerry 10 platform, which is crucial to the firm’s hopes of a recovery.

Shareholder appeasement

Investors have started to doubt the chances of a revival and raised their concerns at the company’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Waterloo, Ontario last week, prompting CEO Thorsten Heins to ask for patience.

He said the company is merely in phase two of a three-step path to recovery which should return BlackBerry to recovery. He said BlackBerry should not be judged on a single quarter and one product launch, but optimism among shareholders and analysts is waning.

BlackBerry has so far launched three devices running the BlackBerry 10 platform, the Z10, the Q10 and Q5, but its subscriber base has fallen from 72 million to 76 million and its share of the smartphone market has fallen to 2.9 percent, placing it in fourth place behind iOS, Android and Windows Phone, according to IDC.

Heins rejected suggestions the BlackBerry 10 launch had been a disaster, but admitted lessons have been learned and the firm is facing an “uphill battle” in a very competitive market.

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