T-Mobile USA Hits Back In BlackBerry Row

T-Mobile USA CEO John Legere promises BlackBerry customers their level of service will not change, and even offers them store credit

T-Mobile USA has hit back in its very public break up with BlackBerry, telling customers it is “very disappointed” in the Canadian manufacturer’s decision to end their partnership and has pledged to continue supporting BlackBerry devices on its network.

Earlier this week, BlackBerry said it would not renew the American operator’s licence to sell BlackBerry products once the current deal expires on 25 April, and said it was working with alternatives for users who wanted to use their device with a different operator.

T-Mobile has made a move to ensure it retains BlackBerry users’ custom by promising them credit against a new phone, including the BlackBerry Z10 and Q10, if they trade in their current handset, while it has promised to deliver “great service” to current and future subscribers.

Dirty laundry

John Legere T-Mobile USA CEO“Obviously, we were disappointed in BlackBerry’s decision this week to end their agreement with us,” said T-Mobile CEO John Legere (pictured) in an open letter to customers. “But here’s what really matters most for BlackBerry owners. Whether you’re an individual customer or business customer, nothing changes. Nada. Zero. Zilch.”

Legere stressed the benefits of staying with the operator, such as separate payement plans for tariffs and devices as well as inclusive international roaming, and expressed his hope they would stay with the “un carrier.”

“I’ll always fight for you. And our team remains committed to providing the same great Un-carrier experience to all BlackBerry users,” he continued. “At the end of the day, this has got to be about you – the customer.”

BlackBerry had not responded to TechWeekEurope’s requests for comment at the time of publication.

Ongoing row

The spat started in February, when Chen, and apparently many BlackBerry customers, expressed outrage at a T-Mobile promotion that promised to let BlackBerry owners upgrade to a new iPhone handset at a discounted price if they traded in their smartphone. Chen called the offer “ill-conceived” and misjudged and was heartened at the apparent loyalty of BlackBerry die-hards.

T-Mobile responded to the row by offering users an additional $50 for anyone who chose to trade-in for a newer BlackBerry handset, such as the Z10 or Q10, but this was apparently not enough to encourage customers to remain loyal. It was reported that the operator witnessed 15 times the normal amount of BlackBerry trade-ins following the promotion.

Earlier this year at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, BlackBerry unveiled two new smartphones, the Z3 and the Q20, and announced major updates to its BlackBerry Enterprise Service (BES) mobile management platform and a new version of BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) for enterprises.

It is worth noting that T-Mobile in the UK, which is operated by EE, is not affected by the row.

Is this the beginning of a new dawn for BlackBerry in 2014? Try our 2013 BlackBerry quiz!