T-Mobile offers credits to retain BlackBerry customers

The credit is extended to any new device, including the BlackBerry Q10 or the Z10

T-Mobile's CEO John Legere said Thursday he was disappointed with BlackBerry's decision this week to split with the carrier, and offered credits to hold on to dedicated BlackBerry users among its customers.

The Canadian smartphone maker said earlier this week it will not renew the license of T-Mobile US to sell its products when it expires on April 25. The decision is regarded as a fallout of T-Mobile's email in February to BlackBerry customers, promoting Apple's iPhone 5s as an alternative to BlackBerry smartphones.

After BlackBerry CEO John Chen described the iPhone 5s marketing promotion as a "clearly inappropriate and ill-conceived" move, the fourth-largest carrier in the U.S. said it would continue to support BlackBerry products. T-Mobile also launched in February a trade-in offer for a limited period that gave owners of used BlackBerry phones US$200 for buying BlackBerry and other smartphones. Those opting for a BlackBerry Q10 or Z10 would get an extra $50.

Chen said in a statement Tuesday that it was not renewing its license to T-Mobile to sell its products as the companies' strategies were no longer complementary.

On Thursday, T-Mobile offered all current customers that are "so passionate and loyal to all things BlackBerry" a $100 credit towards any new device, including the BlackBerry Q10 or the Z10 through the end of the year.

Legere promised T-Mobile's BlackBerry customers continued service and operating system upgrades. Chen said this week that BlackBerry will work closely with T-Mobile to provide "the best possible customer service" to any customer remaining on the T-Mobile US network or to any customer purchasing devices from T-Mobile's existing inventory.

T-Mobile, which styles itself as an "uncarrier" because it does not lock up customers into annual contracts, also offered its handset plans and other benefits to owners of BlackBerry devices that can run on its network.

"One thing you can count on from us:  we'll keep listening to you and finding new ways to meet the needs of BlackBerry users -- individuals and businesses -- everywhere," Legere wrote. He promised users another offer that will provide them "even more reasons to stay" with T-Mobile.

BlackBerry declined to comment on T-Mobile's move.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

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