T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS) is offering its existing BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) customers up to $250 in credit if they upgrade to a new BlackBerry Z10 or Q10 phone. If the carrier's existing BlackBerry customers choose to upgrade to a different device, including an Android phone or an iPhone, the carrier said it would give them $200 in credit.
T-Mobile CMO Mike Sievert announced the offerings in a blog post. The offers will be available for a limited time.
The new offer comes a day after BlackBerry CEO John Chen blasted T-Mobile for sending a promotion to the carrier's BlackBerry customers urging them to switch from BlackBerry to an iPhone 5s. Chen wrote in his own blog post he was "outraged" over the promotion and puzzled as to why BlackBerry was not informed of the promotion beforehand. Late week T-Mobile sent a promotion to its BlackBerry customers offering the iPhone 5s for $0 down. The carrier described the effort as a "great offer for BlackBerry customers."
T-Mobile's promotion sparked anger among BlackBerry fans.
In an apparent move to quell the uproar, Sievert noted that "even if we don't have a BlackBerry device you want in-store, we're offering free expedited shipping of every new BlackBerry in our portfolio to make sure you get your new device fast. Again, I love all the passion I've seen pouring in from the BlackBerry loyal these past several days. Thanks for the Tweets. We hear you."
Sievert added that T-Mobile simply has "a different point of view on the matter of choice than the one expressed yesterday by Mr. Chen. The Un-carrier is fundamentally about delivering real flexibility and freedom to wireless customers. It's just not in us to lock customers in to annual service contracts, make them wait for upgrades … or limit them to one or the other type of device or OS. That's not what we're about. Thanks for giving us the opportunity to express these values once again."
In September 2013, T-Mobile said it planned to stop carrying BlackBerry smartphones in its stores and instead would ship the devices directly to customers who want them. David Carey, executive vice president for T-Mobile's corporate services, told Reuters that "keeping stock in the retail distribution system was inefficient" because BlackBerry phones had not generated enough demand.
On Twitter, before Sievert announced the carrier's new BlackBerry offer, T-Mobile CEO John Legere also sought to address the issue--but added a few jabs at BlackBerry's CEO. "Was going to engage John Chen on Twitter, but turns out he's not here. I'll check MySpace. Don't worry @BlackBerry Something in the works!" The crack about MySpace, a faded social network that peaked years ago, likely did not win Legere many fans at BlackBerry.
Later, Legere was more diplomatic, writing, "If you want to stay on #blackberry, our offer is the best out there. Feel free to call me next time, Chen! ;)" Legere also wrote that, "It's simple. We give options to the 2/3 of #BlackBerry users who switch to a different OS when they upgrade. #fact #uncarrier."
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