Oy Cubio Communications Ltd., a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) in Finland, has today announced it will soon bring the BlackBerry solution to the Land of the Thousand Lakes. Founded in 1999, Cubio started out as a small provider of flat rate GSM subscription services and has since continued to offer high quality mobility and data services to its customers. In 2010, Cubio had over 17,000 subscribers and is now looking to introduce the Finnish folk to the BlackBerry platform.
As a person living in Finland, this is excellent news to me, but it's almost surreal at the same time. Just a few months ago, I wrote a lengthy post on my personal blog with the title "How one tweet shattered the dreams of a 19-year-old." In that blog post, I outlined my history with BlackBerry smartphones in Finland and how it has been a tough struggle to use said devices without a proper data plan. Hoping that RIM will one day make the BlackBerry smartphone less dependent on BIS, I tweeted Alec Saunders, Vice President of Developer Relations and Ecosystem Development at RIM, to ask about it. At the time, it was almost a given that BIS would never come to Finland, and long story short, RIM has no plans to make my wish happen. The truth is, a BlackBerry without BIS is like a personal computer without access to the Internet: it's useful for a set number of functions, but will never deliver the full experience it was designed for today. But this is about to change, as Cubio is going to be the first mobile service provider in Finland to offer the full BlackBerry experience, complete with BlackBerry Internet Service.
It should be noted that Cubio is not the first to tinker with the idea of bringing BlackBerry smartphones to Finland; some other Finnish companies have previously attempted to bring the Canadian wonder to the Finnish market, but to no avail. For example, Verkkokauppa.com Oy, a large electronics retailer in Finland, began selling the BlackBerry Bold 9000 in 2009. Demand was nonexistent and the retailer subsequently removed the Bold 9000 from sale, after having sold its initial stock of five units. It's perhaps the fact that Finland, which is the home of the sauna among other things, is also the home of Nokia. Sometimes hailed as Nokialand, Finland has long been a strong supporter of Nokia handsets, in both enterprise and consumer markets. BlackBerry as a brand is almost unheard of in Finland, and you would be hard pressed to find a Finnish person with a BlackBerry. So I'm only wondering, will Cubio be able to make a difference? It's hard to tell, but given Nokia's recent moves with Microsoft, it's worth a try. In fact, that is the very reasoning of Kyösti Järnefelt, head of the new BlackBerry business unit at Cubio.
Details on Cubio's upcoming offering are slim at the moment, but the Finnish company is looking to offer various BlackBerry 7 smartphones for sale at its Cubio Shop in Helsinki and online. Apart from BlackBerry smartphones, it also looks like Cubio will begin offering the BlackBerry PlayBook in Finland, as revealed by the new landing page for Finland at BlackBerry.com. With the Nokia Lumia 800 gaining more and more popularity in Finland, mostly due to the ongoing massive marketing campaign by Nokia, it's going to be a difficult journey for Cubio, but novel ideas have succeeded in the past--why not this one as well? I'm personally very excited about this, as it's a dream come true for me that I've been waiting for many years now. So, without any further ado, kiitoksia Cubio ja tervetuloa Suomeen, RIM!