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BlackBerry Z10 a game changer in Indonesian market

Publication Date : 06-02-2013


While rich features are sure to make the BlackBerry Z10 a local favourite, the revamped smartphone’s high price will limit penetration in Indonesia, a major market for BlackBerry, analysts say.

Suden Bangah, an analyst with research firm International Data Corporation (IDC) in Indonesia, said he did not expect that the BlackBerry Z10 would be a game changer in the local market.

The Z10 is the flagship smartphone of BlackBerry — formerly known as Research in Motion (RIM) — and includes the highly anticipated BlackBerry 10 operating system.

BlackBerry CEO Thornsten Heins introduced the full touchscreen BlackBerry Z10 and a QWERTY model, the BlackBerry Q10, on January 30 in New York.

The BlackBerry Z10 will hit markets first. The phone is currently available in Britain and reports suggest that the Z10 will be released in the US as early as February.

Bangah estimated that the Z10’s price would be around that of higher-end Samsung and iPhone devices.

The Samsung Galaxy SIII is currently priced above 6 million rupiah (US$620.15) locally, while Apple’s iPhone 5 carries a price tag as high as 8 million rupiah.

Bangah said that price would limit acceptance of the phone in Indonesia, a market that has been dominated by affordable devices, such as Android smartphones, the least expensive of which cost around 1 million rupiah.

“The price of the phone will remain attractive to the middle-upper income bracket, and cater more to loyalists, who have been looking forward to the new OS,” Bangah told The Jakarta Post.

He said that a lack of innovations by BlackBerry in 2012 led some of the firm’s otherwise loyal customers to shift to other brands.

BlackBerry delayed introduction of Blackberry 10 throughout 2012, a rough year marked by waning market share as competitors entered the market with new offers.

One operating system launched in the local market last year was Windows 8, chiefly touted by Nokia for its Lumia smartphones.

The Android operating system, however, captured a 56 per cent share of the local operating system market in 2012, according to the IDC, followed by BlackBerry at 37 per cent and the remainder divided evenly among Symbian, Windows and iOS.

Despite the Z10’s high price, local telecommunications executives have given their nod to the BlackBerry 10 operating system.

Sumantri J. Yuwono, the group head for product development and management for mobile phone operator PT Indosat, said that the Z10 sported a good user interface (UI) and worked faster than BlackBerry’s older devices.

“It supports [data] speeds of 21 megabytes per second while the older ones run at speeds below that,” he said.

Erik Meijer, the chief commercial officer of Indosat, said that he thought the Z10 would enter the local market in March, with the QWERTY version following by May. “We are hoping to conduct pre-sales, but we are still discussing it with BlackBerry.”

Meijer indicated that the new smartphones would not come with BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS), which allowed operators to offer customers pre-priced packages of BlackBerry services. “It will be like other smartphones, where consumers have to buy data packages,” he said, adding that this was similar to how Android phones worked.

Meijer added that the operator might introduce special data packages for the BlackBerry 10, while Bangah said the absence of BIS packages would remove a market differentiator for BlackBerry, making it more “generic” and thus more attractive to a wider audience that did not want to be bound by a BIS.

However, the main discussion would still be the price point and what BlackBerry could do for a consumer, he said.

*US$1=9,672 rupiah


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