RIM chief mulls BlackBerry compensation for operators

Research in Motion co-CEO says keen to build trust with network operators in future
RIM chief mulls BlackBerry compensation for operators
By Bloomberg
Mon 17 Oct 2011 08:12 PM

Research in Motion will this week consider offering compensation to network operators following one of its worst BlackBerry service disruptions, co-CEO Jim Balsillie said on Monday.

RIM will focus on compensation alongside the offer of one month of free technical support to companies and free online applications, Balsillie said in a telephone interview.

“We’re very focused on these carriers and making sure they’re satisfied with the service operation and making sure we comply with all of our agreements with them and making sure we have their trust for the service going forward,” Balsillie said.

RIM, based in Waterloo, Ontario, may face claims following the disruption after some wireless carriers including Vodafone Group, the world’s biggest mobile-phone operator, offered refunds to some BlackBerry users.

Subscribers across most parts of the world, including Middle East, US and Canada, last week lost data services after a network failure in the UK halted messaging and Web browsing.

RIM will give subscribers free access to online applications in games, radio and translation with a face value of up to $100, the company said in an earlier statement on Monday.

“This is our offer and we worked systemically over the last three days to make that,” Balsillie said. “That was a pretty comprehensive set of efforts.”

RIM shares fell as much as 5.8 percent to $22.59 in New York. The stock has declined 61 percent this year.

RIM will roll out further applications to cover all regions of the world as part of the offer, he said.

“We have apologized to our customers and we will work tirelessly to restore their confidence,” co-CEO Mike Lazaridis said earlier today in a statement. “We are taking immediate and aggressive steps to help prevent something like this from happening again.”

RIM will face “defections” to Apple Inc after the US company started selling its new iPhone, Matt Thornton, an analyst at Avian Securities in Boston said last week.

Apple sold more than 4 million iPhone 4S devices in the first three days, setting a record as customers lined up at stores from Sydney to San Francisco to be first with the new touch-screen handset.

RIM, which holds it developer conference in San Francisco tomorrow, will show how the whole BlackBerry platform is “transitioning,” Balsillie said in the interview.

The company, which is trying to revive enthusiasm for its PlayBook tablet after shipments dropped by more than half, will focus its announcements on the device, he said.

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