T-Mobile incurred the wrath of BlackBerry CEO John Chen and some of the phone’s loyalists by making an upgrade offer encouraging BlackBerry owners to trade in for a new iPhone.

Aiming to make amends — and really calling the BlackBerry bluff — T-Mobile launched an upgrade offer that gave BlackBerry owners the choice of sticking with that platform or moving to another smartphone.

T-Mobile’s BlackBerry trade-in promotion did indeed drive lots of people to upgrade — just not to new BlackBerrys.

According to a field sales memo obtained by TmoNews, the promotion, which is ending on Wednesday, led to a 15x increase in BlackBerry trade-ins. But the most interesting number is how many went for something other than a new BlackBerry.

Even with an extra $50 offered to those who chose a Q10 or Z10, 94 percent of the people taking part in the promotion opted to switch smartphone platforms.

To be fair, T-Mobile is not exactly the world’s biggest backer of BlackBerry, choosing not to carry inventory in stores and instead shipping the devices to buyers. That said, the numbers kind of speak for themselves.

Speaking at Mobile World Congress last week, Chen noted that his company was focusing on AT&T and Verizon.

“The two major carriers and us, our relationships are getting better by the day,” he said. “That strategy will continue to work for us.”


I'm not a Blackberry fan (at all), but this offer was destined to provide a poor result for Blackberry for some very straight forward reasons:

• T-Mobile don't stock Blackberry in store, customers receive it via delivery only.

• Most consumers will not go without a mobile phone for any length of time. Many rely on their phone too much to leave the store empty handed.

Meaning this offer will predominantly entice two kinds of consumer:

1. Those which are trading in an unused Blackberry device (Which, based on market sales stats, would be mostly people who have already switched away from the platform.)

2. Those which were already ditching their Blackberry, and this offer provided a financial incentive to do so with T-Mobile. (Note: They could leave the store with an iOS or Android device, but not a Blackberry.)

If the offer was structured Blackberry for Blackberry, then it would have had a dismal result. (I.E. Advertising costs exceed the profit obtained by conversion.)


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