Are the majority of UK business men/women carrying two smartphones? The evidence suggests so

By James Richardson on 24 Aug 2012 07:09 pm EDT

Thanks to some new research it would seem that RIM's market presence for the UK business sector is not quite as bad as it is perceived. Many people are under the impression that it's just youngsters and teenagers in Great Britain using BlackBerry and these latest findings certainly go to disprove that theory. The research, which involved 600 businesses, was to establish what percentage of companies were supplying smartphones to staff. As expected, findings were pretty high with 71% of businesses saying that they did make them available to some staff members. Where things get interesting though is when businesses were asked about the smartphones that were on offer to employees. BlackBerry is holding the number one spot with 61% of respondents saying that they offer them to staff. These figures are considerably higher than the competition. 38% of businesses offer the Apple iPhone and Android is only 30%. Windows Phone comes trailing in at the rear with just 15%.

Although the above figures are great it isn't quite as simple as that because the employees were also asked about their primary device and this is where Android takes the pole position grabbing 51% of replies. The iPhone came in second with 23% and BlackBerry only managing 14%. So if business owners are preferring to supply a BlackBerry to staff why the U-Turn in the figures? The evidence points to the fact that many users are carrying two smartphones - a BlackBerry for business and another OS for taking care of other requirements which is probably gaming and browsing the web as well as apps.

If the theory is correct I'm not really surpised. I have said it before and I will say it again - that I strongly believe that the BlackBerry is by far the best way of managing email. Its simplicity, combined with the hardware keyboard is what makes us 'people who do'. Business owners are clearly still loving the idea of RIM's security and BlackBerry Enterprise Server and from a management perspective you can't really blame them. But currently the other operating systems offer many apps BlackBerry does not and consumers like that choice.

Purchasing smartphones is very different here in the UK compared to many places, including the USA. We have the choice of 12, 18 and 24 month contracts as well as pay-as-you-go options. If a business supplies a BlackBerry as a work tool it does not have to be expensive for a consumer to get another smartphone. It is now common for the UK networks to sell a range of Android devices that retail for under £150 on pay-as-you-go. And with the likes of some networks offering unlimited data for as little as £12.90 a month carrying two phones can be quite common. However, could we see a change in the future? 

There are certain things that keep up us BlackBerry addicts using our beloved phones. BBM, the unified inbox, great social media integration and the famous flashing LED just to name a few. BlackBerry 10 will retain all these great features but also bring us so much more. For the smartphone users that want a big touch screen device for gaming and watching movies there will be a BB10 solution. And for the hardware QWERTY keyboard lovers there will also be a BB10 handset for you too shortly after. So everyone's a winner. In the long term could we see a new trend of people not needing (or wanting) a second smartphone? If RIM get things right with BlackBerry 10 I think that could well be the case. Who's with me?


Reader comments

Are the majority of UK business men/women carrying two smartphones? The evidence suggests so


Losts of people I know do. I have my main Bold 9900 with a Vodafone sim in it, and my Galaxy Note with a 3UK sim with unlimited data/200min/5000texts for £9.90 which I use only for data and mobile hotspot for my Bold and my Playbook.

Of course! For business, you only offer the best device for productivity and security, which is a BlackBerry!

I have a feeling that If BB 10 makes inroads in the UK at a decent time it has a pretty good shot at the # 1 spot. . .it's quite another story here in the states. . .

I would just like to say that Microsoft Store employees have BlackBerrys when I saw that I was like WTF LOL

Thats right, I use a blackberry for social media and bbm, and I have an iphone for apps and browsing, if bb10 could have apps like the iphone I wouldn't need anymore an iphone I will switch to bb10, and I realy hope to see all my favorite apps of my iphone on bb10 appworld at launch. That would be great for me. rim should do anything to convince developpers of android and ios apps to make apps for bb10. (sry for my bad english anyway)

I know many people that carry multiple phones. Different phones have different advantages. I'd want a big touch screen phone for personal use like media consumption. If it is for work, then probably a BlackBerry :)

The Blackberry Balance is great idea, RIM just need to bank on it. It's biggest worry of all companies is losing that corporate data but the BB balance is win win situation for BYOD era, CIOs, staff and RIM.

I've just separated my mobile phone use to two devices, 9700 on OS5 for calls, bbm and two work emails, this gives me 2 days battery life.
My 9900 is now on an Orange payg sim(trough some lucky strike this SIM has never ending BIS it seems :) ) and it's used for all my email addresses and social networks + browsing. It's no basically my social phone. I will be deviding my BBM contacts in the near future too, leaving only my business bbm contacts on the 9700.

Two phones arrangement has the huge advantage of two batteries. Unfortunately the modern trend for thiner and thiner phones with larger and larger screens eat into battery life as anything. Blackberry is not immune to this - the 9900 battery life is pathetic, compared to the old phones. Having a phone for internet browsing/media and another one for e-mail actually makes more sense than meets the eye initially. At least one can browse internet without the constant fear that in the afternoon all the e-mails and the BBM messages will hang in the cyber ether until the phone is charged.

Same for me. Work provide me with a Blackberry, and I have an iPhone of my own. Now that I purchased a Playbook I am seriously wondering if I still need the iPhone. Will definitely consider BB10 when my iPhone contract is up for renewal.

I work in the trades, and mostly I just see flip phones. Pull anything square out of your pocket and it is frowned upon. It's immediately assumed that you are being unproductive. When companies hand out phones, it's always the most basic possible flip phone.

Many consultancies and law firms issue their staff with two phones... a BlackBerry for email (and corporate apps) and another phone for voice.

Why? You generally need to be reading a document at the same time you are talking about it - and speakerphone mode is often not appropiate

Currently running a bb for work (9790 - a recent addition) and an iphone for personal stuff. Dare say I'll be consolidating when the iphone contract runs out, hopefully with bb10 if it's up to scratch!

While smartphones can do so many things now, the problem is doing them all at the same time, and I'm not talking device multitasking but really user multitasking.

It's a bit hard to use a phone as satnav, email, calls and games or browsing for the kids in the back seat at the same time.

I spent 2 years in the Middle East. They have 2, sometimes 3 phones. Business, personal and family. Phones with dual sim capability were popular.

Just my blackberry bold 9900 and playbook. Don't need another smartphone. All else, my ubuntu powdered desktop is all I need.

An innovative and elegant approach to solving this consumer dilemma, something only Rim can capitalize on, is to offer a dual screen blackberry - with the regular small screen and physical keyboard on one side and a large screen on the other side, coupled with removable batteries. No need for any high tech nuclear science - just plain product design and some screen display graphic display software development - a no brainer! Use scratch resistant glass on both sides and the best screen on the market.

Better still, learn from what the manufacturers in Asia are doing, offer two SIM card slots - one for RIM and the other for any local providers, that the user can turn off RIM and switch to local providers after work or while traveling, or switch back and forth during the day.

Make it slim and modern - learn from Samsung designs.

No need to wait for BB10, RIM can do it for BB7 now!

Even if this is a niche product and would not generate a lot of sales due to its high price, RIM will benefit from the tremendous publicity this product would generate and will be worth more in advertising effects than from the profit this innovative device would generate. RIM needs something to lead the industry in innovation again and this is one of those situations RIM must act now!

Gotta agree with this!
I have seen many people carrying 2 phones for the exact same reason, one for work and the other as a personal one, and I'm not talking about the UK.

And this is why I have sent an email to RIM long time ago suggesting a phone with 2 sim cards.

I know its not their priority right now, but that actually could be a good solution for those who are forced to carry 2 phones!

I have been theorizing for a while now that the new BB10 devices will also put an end to the BYOD trend as there will be no reason to have this since BB10 devices will have everything their competitors have.
I can't see companies saying that their employees can use iPhones because BB10 doesn't have some gaming app.

Where I work, the company pays for the phone and phone service but people at my level have to pay for the data portion of the bill.

This is my problem as well.

Personal Torch 9850/60, work 9900. While working for RIM, I had submitted an idea of dual SIM card, if BB 10 phones had this functionality, I bet you would have a LOT of people switching for the simple fact that you are no longer carrying 2 phones on you, but just one.

Work has ALWAYS paid for my phone and plan, including personal, however when you switch jobs you lose your number, and friends are slow at updating their address books...