BlackBerry has announced that it will not renew the T-Mobile (U.S.) license to sell its products when it expires on April 25 — ending a decade-plus relationship between the two companies.
“BlackBerry has had a positive relationship with T-Mobile for many years. Regretfully, at this time, our strategies are not complementary and we must act in the best interest of our BlackBerry customers,” said BlackBerry CEO John Chen in a statement.
The announcement follows a spat, which kicked off when T-Mobile suggested that BlackBerry users trade-in their phones for iPhones — offering an unlocked iPhone 5s for just $500, a savings of $150 on the usual retail price.
A massive 94% of BlackBerry users reportedly traded in their phones for a different device during the promotion.
T-Mobile attempted to make amends by offering $200 credit toward the purchase of a new device to all BlackBerry users, plus an additional $50 for those getting new BB handsets.
Cult of Mac at the time described it as “a pretty ingenious way of turning negative press into good publicity” and a “fascinating social experiment of sorts.”
However the damage was clearly done as BlackBerry chose to sever ties with T-Mobile.
John Chen’s entire statement about the split is reproduced below:
Waterloo, ON – BlackBerry® Limited (NASDAQ: BBRY; TSX: BB), a world leader in mobile communications, today announced that it will not renew the T-Mobile U.S., Inc. license to sell BlackBerry products when it expires on April 25, 2014.
BlackBerry customers on the T-Mobile network should not see any difference in their service or support. BlackBerry will work closely with T-Mobile to provide the best possible customer service to any customer remaining on the T-Mobile U.S. network or to any customer purchasing devices from T-Mobile’s existing inventory.
BlackBerry is also working closely with other carrier partners to provide consumers and business users with alternatives should they decide to transition to another carrier and remain with BlackBerry for their long-term device and service needs. For additional details, offers and assistance, business customers and consumers can go to http://us.blackberry.com/smartphones.html.
“BlackBerry has had a positive relationship with T-Mobile for many years. Regretfully, at this time, our strategies are not complementary and we must act in the best interest of our BlackBerry customers. We hope to work with T-Mobile again in the future when our business strategies are aligned,” said BlackBerry CEO and Executive Chair, John Chen. “We are deeply grateful to our loyal BlackBerry customers and will do everything in our power to provide continued support with your existing carrier or ensure a smooth transition to our other carrier partners.