Clearing up the BlackBerry 10 data plan confusion: No, you don't need a special BlackBerry plan if you're a regular customer

Data Plans
By Adam Zeis on 2 Feb 2013 11:59 am EST

The question has come up over and over (and over) again -- do you need a BIS plan (aka BlackBerry data plan) from your carrier to use a BlackBerry 10 phone? The short answer is no, you don't. You can use a standard data plan with BlackBerry 10 devices and everything will work just fine. Pre-BlackBerry 10 devices required a dedicated BlackBerry/BIS plan to get all features working - BBM, browser, email etc. On BlackBerry 10 however, you can just use the same smartphone data plan that works for iPhone or Android as well. 

There are a few catches here however. Yes, you can also use a dedicated BlackBerry plan with no problem. That means a full-out BlackBerry data plan, no an individual feature plan. Plans that feature segmented data streams, like BBM/email only or "social plans" are currently no good on BlackBerry 10. So if you're swapping over from another platform, BlackBerry 10 makes things easy in that you don't even need to swap your data plan with your carrier. If you're currently on a BlackBerry plan you are good to go as well.

Remember too that if you're coming from an older BlackBerry or a different platform, you most likely have a full size SIM card that won't work in the BlackBerry Z10 or BlackBerry Q10. So for that you will need to hit up your carrier to get a new SIM card. (You can cut down your current SIM, but we don't recommend doing that - at all) While you're there make sure your plan is up to speed since the new devices offer LTE - so if you have an older plan/SIM you will want to upgrade.

When it comes to enterprise users who will be running their BlackBerry 10 phones via a BES10 server, a special BlackBerry BES plan will be required - so nothing has changed there. Being on BES10 is what enables features like BlackBerry Balance to function. However, if you're in a business where you're going to be running your BlackBerry 10 phones alongside iOS and Android devices with no BES in place, then no BlackBerry data plan is required - you're in the same situation as a consumer.

Update: Rogers contacted us and told us that for BB10 devices you don't even need a BES plan to connect to BES10 - only older BBOS devices require a BES. 

Hopefully that clears things up, but just to refresh:

  • Yes you can use any smartphone data plan for the Z10 and Q10
  • Yes, a dedicated BlackBerry plan will still work
  • No, you can't use a feature plan like email only or BBM only
  • Yes, you need a micro SIM card to use in the Z10 or Q10 (or a iPhone 5 nano card in a micro SiM adapter will work too)
  • Yes, BES users still need a BES plan

The whole data plan story surrounding BlackBerry 10 has been a little under communicated and a bit confusing, so if and when any of these things change we'll be sure to update this post. 

Adam Zeis Adam Zeis "Mobile Nations Content Strategist" 3740 (articles) 2892 (forum posts)

Reader comments

Clearing up the BlackBerry 10 data plan confusion: No, you don't need a special BlackBerry plan if you're a regular customer


Some do - some don't.

It will save carriers money also. Unfortunately for RIM, they will have to sell a lot more apps/movies/music to make up for it. Hopefully it works out ok.

I can see myself renting movies through my Z10 and plugging into my Plasma.

I think the premium they charge is offset by the lower data consumption due to it's browsing compression/transcoding. Or at least that's supposed to be the idea.

No it doesn't if you need your phone for work also why in hell you buy a BB10 phone if have to purchase a BES data plan.

If you can get the same work coverage through BES 10 software with an android or iphone why would an employee go get a BB10

BlackBerry just shot themselves in the foot or maybe the head in the BYOD market.

And now you aren't required to purchase the extra BES plan to use a Z10 with your work account. This is a win for hardware sales.

It's yet to be seen how negatively the loss of service ( via BIS / BIS plans) revenue hurts the gains of new hardware sales.

only Rodgers confirmed that. It is different for every carrier Verizon could say that you require a BES connection if it connects to an BES 10 server. That means the consumer has to purchase an extra data plan to their personal account. This makes a Z10 the least compelling phone.

Don't know where u r from. But where I'm from a bis data plan is way cheaper the the regular plans for other smartphones. An unlimited bis plan is almost half the cost of a android or iphone plan both of which have a limit.

Before with my Verizon BlackBerry, I could BBM all day, every day and it wouldn't cost me any of our data. It was connected to the BlackBerry servers instead. Is that still the case? Will BBM, email, etc., use your carrier data or will it still be connected to the BlackBerry server?

It sounds like imessage of iphone.
It recognizes if the other side is an iphone or not.
Here with BBM it just recognize the blackberry id.

BB9900, PB32GB

It will have to be carrier data, but it's going to be a very small amount of data to BBM pretty much to your hearts content.

This has never been the case, except for the unlimited social feature plans that didn't let you browse the web. BBM just consumes such a tiny amount of data (using it all day every day would still only be about 5MB/month) that you've never noticed it's using your data.

MY question as a long time BIS user, is then what provides access to BBM - is it the app and BBID? This would mean that someday a person without a BB phone but BB10, the BBM app, and a BBID could use the service on PlayBook? Here's hoping thats the case, but then I understand the concern over revenue to BB.

from what it sounds like yes that is a possibility in the future. the allowance of "regular data plans" to work on OS 10 shows that its the app and use of BBID that is working BBM.

BBM on the PlayBook is entirely feasible once the PlayBook gets BB10. The Dev Alphas were generally used over WiFi only and BBM worked fine on them.

Someone may want to point that out to Bell, if you go through their pre-order page you can only choose form blackberry plans.

OK that clears things a little thanks for that :)

my other concern here is the data compression. I am on a BlackBerry plan, therefor going through BIS. when i get my 'Vader' will i still have access to the data compression that my plan gives me?

What's the reason for having an OS10 device with no BIS?

No longer having access to the features BIS provided just means you're now on a level playing field with iOS, Android, etc...

RIM killing off BIS just gives users one less reason to stick with BB.

One thumb! Thumb down that is.

Might I point out a few things..

I think all current gen browsers support gz compression of text data (everything but binaries) if the web server supports it too. That is becoming increasingly more popular. So whether rim maintains their browsing service (at a cost) sitting between your phone and the internet is becoming less important. The playing field is leveling itself due to common sense.

The only thing it provides besides gzipping is image transcoding. But most people want their rich content today so transcoding is a road block in the sense that you have to download the low res image first, then request the original anyway.

I think a big reason is people wont be susceptible to rim's network outages, which however infrequent are a big deal.

You forget, it's also one more reason to SWITCH TO BlackBerry. Not everyone likes paying extra just to browse the internet when ALL other phones have data included. There are two sides to the coin bud, have a look once in awhile.

Im living in Luxembourg and my Data Plan for the Bold cost me 25€ monthley for only 100mb (over 2 years). And i still have to pay 300 for the phone.

Then i compare it to iOS or Android, you get an Iphone or S3 for only 100€ and a 2 year contract for 50€ monthly where you have everything covered from data, phone, sms, mms...

I think thats why Blackberry is so unpopular here in Luxembourg. So i hope that i can have a contract like this, maby there are more people then who would bye a BB.

I'm living in Chile and the BIS data package costs 10 USD with a 600MB data allowance. with intensive use (BBM, tapatalk, whatsapp, almost no web) I make 150MB per month. That is cheap compared to a 200MB plan on iPhone or android device.

Blackberries are expensive though. I had to buy my 9900 in the states. It was cheaper than buying it in Chile

I think Blackberry's new idea to cut BIS isn't such a good idea. In Nigeria 8 out of 10 people have a blackberry phone, either as a primary phone or a secondary phone. The reason is because the BIS data plan available previously was relatively very affordable and solved the need for data hungry customers. I am a high end user but of course I want to save money, so I pay for the premium BIS plan in Nigeria which cost approx USD 10 for unlimited data per month. this includes all my emails, bbm (very important in nigeria for networking, business and social communication). I rarely have to use traditional means to stay connected as all i need to do online is done through my BB phone. Compare this to other phones ( iphone, android phones, etc) where you have to pay between 10 USD and 60 USD for limited data. although some carriers include a daily data plan for about USD 2 you can see why almost everyone in Nigeria owns a blackberry. If BIS is removed from the picture you will undoubtedly see a customer shift from blackberry devices to other devices like nokia's lumina and samsung's s4 since everyone will have to pay the same awful data charges by the carriers.

Simply, I have a T-M (US) unlimited BB email and internet plan (@19.99/month). Why would I want to switch to a TM generic smartphone plan which has limited internet and a higher per month cost?

Exactly.. I have the global plan from BlackBerry and was very worried I had to go the way of iphone or Android. I went to apple for one phone and the data charges were horrific... Really high and nearly as bad with my Android device. BB plan is one off fee and no matter where I am in the world, it just works!!! It's why my company would never leave blackberry....

Yes there still is data compression, just because you don't need a bis data plan it doesn't mean the data or at least some of the data, doesn't go trough the NOC. All BBMs and files sent trough BBM are still going trough the NOC. From what I can see the device connects like any other old BB with the signal in capitals and the little bb symbol beside it.

My question is about the encryption thing - so this means all data on my BlackBerry can now be intercepted? It's not encrypted like how it used to be?

correct. to my understanding if you are on a regular data plan VS a BIS plan the information you are sending and receiving (data wise) is not as secure. I could be wrong on this.

Ive reached out to Bell to confirm and every rep i talked to had no idea what was going on regarding the security and compression.

As far as I am aware, on the current bb phones, BIS is not encrypted BES is, as you are simply connection get to a pop or imap mail server rather than through to a corporate network.

This is why I would have expected enterprise bb10 devices to have a BES plan.

I could be wrong but I thought if you're not using RIM's encryption you're falling back on to the service your connecting to's encryption. Meaning if I connect to gmail it's over imap ssl. If I connect to a regular non-ssl pop account, I'm doing the same as any other client making a non ssl connection. So kind of yes, kind of no to the main question.

It does make it easier for your carrier to intercept your browsing, unless you browse at a secure (HTTPS) website. That makes it exactly like your home internet connection.

BBM is still via RIM's servers and encrypted, so nothing has changed there.

Email is still encrypted, just not via RIM. So it also remains secure.

All of this assumes that you pay attention to certificate errors. If you get a certificate error your data is NOT secure. Too many people just click through them and ignore.

i understand with a regular data plan, u wont be able to use BBM or access Blackberry's compression technology which means that the Z10 or Q10 would function like a regular phone with Social networking, internet browsing and Email access (with Active Sync). Operators would still offer BB plans for those interested and want BBM.

I understand that both types of plans will work fine. However, are there any advantages to using BIS over a regular data plan? For example, push email, encryption, compression, etc.

I am asking because I am currently grandfathered into an unlimited BIS plan with t-mobile and I am wondering if I should keep it. Thanks

Im not sure if you would be allowed to still have your unlimited data plan.

I know that Bell here in Canada is not allowing any unlimited plans to be attached to a Z10 because it uses LTE and they are trying to restrict/limit data usage.

Well they would try and force a plan change if you wanted to sign a contract to get a subsidized phone, but if you just put in your current SIM it would probably work fine and Bell wouldn't really know. Most of these unlimited plans aren't provisioned to allow LTE access though.

on a regular data plan? Was it the same SIM with BB subscription you moved from your old device cos that may explain it

Who is your service provider? I am with Bell and BBM/ browser won't work unless I get a Blackberry data plan.

yes it does open the door for cross platform BBM because it is no longer reliant on being attached to a BIS plan.

yes it is.
If you have one BBRY is allowing you to access it for a further one year, time to change over your accounts and let people know. then once your year is up it will be scrapped.

When and where was thins announced? My email address IS BBID so I'm going to have to change it? My primary email address is also my BB email. Why would they be ditching them? They are not ditching the NOC and BB10 phones still connect to it so why would they get rid of the email accounts that 10s of millions of customer rely on?

Apple doesn't have BIS/BES but they still give everyone a free email iCloud email account. I don't see why there would be a need for BlackBerry to stop giving out email accounts to customers.

i forget the exact date im trying to do a search on it for you.
Yes you will have to change your BBID email to another one. so yes once you make he Z10 your new active phone and attach your BBID to it you will have one year to switch everything over and let people know you are using a new email address.

I don't think that's ever going to happen. Until you have solid evidance that points to BlackBerry's website in a KB article or news/press release by BlackBerry themselves, I won't take it as fact.

Fact it is.

Instructions are here:
KB33260-BlackBerry (hosted) email address forwarding for BlackBerry 10


Okay. Then, please, can someone explain me this: WHY would I wanna have a BIS plan on BB10? Is there any point in having it?

Hey are you guys sure about this because I got a unlocked z10 yesterday and it didn't work on my regular data plan with bell. BBM and browser only worked through wifi. Spoke to bell about this and they switched me over to BB data or BIS and they said that's what you need. :S

Can you guys please tell me what carrier you guys are with.

The question of BIS vs no-BIS still seems unanswered. What advantage(s) are there to a dedicated BlackBerry plan for BB10, especially if the carrier charges more for a dedicated plan than a regular plan?

Is BIS here to stay, or merely hanging around until BBOS falls off.


I'm also confused... With BIS plan it's clear that I have a TRUE PUSH notifications, encryption and protection of data. My phone is not pulling data from internet all the time like iPhone and Droids.

If we don't need BIS to use Z10, then does it mean RIM (sorry, BlackBerry) is giving up on its services?????!!!!!!!

Yep. That's why RIM stock took a dump when they announced changes to BIS - much less revenue from BIS subscriptions.

I'm also confused... With BIS plan it's clear that I have a TRUE PUSH notifications, encryption and protection of data. My phone is not pulling data from internet all the time like iPhone and Droids.

If we don't need BIS to use Z10, then does it mean RIM (sorry, BlackBerry) is giving up on its services?????!!!!!!!

Here in Peru, the bb data plans are unlimited, rather than standard data plans limited to 700mbs.... I use to download tons of files(music, video, docs, etc), use the applications from blackberry world, navigate thru the web, use maps (google maps) to find my way, etc... And I have not to worry about the data usage... Now the carrier make us change (as a must) to the standard data plan (the one with limit) for the same price, so now I am going to pay the same for less data available to use (much less) I don't care about soeed , here are not LTE network jet, so it's not about that... I really think this option just make the carrier charge the most expensive data plan on they have.

Exactly... Your phone needs data to work whether is a bb plan or normal data plan.... The bb plans are much better value especially for heavy users like me

Im sure we are all very happy that Adam has solved this issue for us but there are some questions people still want to know:

1)whats the benefit(s) of a BIS plan over a 'regular data' plan
2)is data compression and encryption and push-email still availble on both plans

that doesn't solve the issue of the data compression issue.
BB users dont watch their data usage because of the built in compression BIS offers.
Will BIS still offer data compression on the Z10?

Please somebody tell me that based on his/her experience BBM actually works with regular/non-BIS plan. What I understand is that BBM is connecting through blackberry's APN while regular plan is using my provider's APN

Thank goodness... I am on an unlimited BIS... so when I get the Z10 or Q10... I will be able to use the same and not be on a data plan for android / iOS... yipee... Now the big question... when are we seeing the phones in India?

I am on a BIS with Bell and will continue to stay on this plan as if I were to switch my current BIS to a regular data plan the price would increase drastically. I was looking over some of the plans they currently offer and noticed that they don't even offer the same data plan that I currently have which is 6gb. I couldn't even get a 6gb plan now with Bell as the max they offer is 5gb which alone costs 95$ but you get unlimited airtime.

My voice plan includes 150 anytime and unlimited after 6 and weekends with 6gb data for 77$ including insurance which I think I will cancel because they will not replace the Z10 if I understood the rep correctly.

BlackBerry Torch 9860 and PlayBook

Call Bell again... We have the same phone and plan aa you.
New 6gb plan is $69 plus insurance. Includes 200 minstrel, Unlim msging (text, pic etc), voicemail, caller Id, fab10, evenings/wknds etc....

Thanks for the article! Been a bit confused abut this matter. Guess, I'm gonna keep on using my BIS plan when I have the Z10. The unlimited Blackberry browsing/data is still unparalleled. At least in my country.

I'm with you. I wouldn't give up on BIS for nothing in the world.

Nothing like international unlimited data plans. I don't need to worry about roaming charges like iOS or Android users.

Bang on.... Why do people not get this fact. My work takes me all over the world and after 9 days in China is was faced with a £800 data bill when I returned using Iphone on O2uk. I get a lot of pictures for work and use a shed load of data, I regretted ever being tempted by the iphone as it was nowhere near as good at emails etc, but the big screen tempted me for viewing pictures etc..... Never again. No phone works better than my 9900, hopefully when my z10 comes next week, I will update that statement.

According to the woman at EE (UK) when I called to order my two Z10's she informed me that on 3G you will still need a BlackBerry Data Plan however on 4G they don't need a BlackBerry Data Plan, they just requires a normal data plan. I decided to order on 3G solely because with a BlackBerry Data Plan there's no data cap but she added on a normal 1GB data plan onto my account anyway so I have the best of worlds =)

Yep. Confusion still abounds.

I'm on AT&T with a grandfathered unlimited BB data plan. That means it's BIS. AT&T does not force you to lose that plan even for an LTE phone, so I have no worries about that. I want to keep the BIS aspect of it for my POP3 email account (IMAP is not an option from my ISP - so please don't even mention that).

Will BB10 use the BIS if it's there when setting up a POP3 email on the phone. That is the biggest question in most if the forum threads right now. And that is something no one has clearly answered yet.

I am also grandfathered in on the unlimited BB plan. I am wondering AT&T will try to say that with the new BB phones we are changing our plans and therefore they will have an excuse to do away with our unlimited plan. AT&T is so greedy that I would not put them past trying to pull a fast one on all of us here in the US.

I am repeating this question for emphasis.
Crackberry, can we get at technical article on this and clear the air once and for all. Even the forums are all over the place on this subject with much confusion.
I am getting my Z10 on Tuesday from Rogers and currently have a $30/6GB BIS plan that I will want to keep. Will LTE cause them to force a change of plans?

With BIS plan it's clear that I have a TRUE PUSH notifications, encryption and protection of data. My phone is not pulling data from internet all the time like iPhone and Droids.

If we don't need BIS to use Z10, then does it mean RIM (sorry, BlackBerry) is giving up on its services?????!!!!!!!

+1 on this too.
I know with Bell if you have an Unlimited data plan and you want to hook up a Z10 you will be forced to change plans. I have confirmed with a Bell rep on this. the reason is because they are trying to limit the data usage and having Unlimited LTE would just eat to much up.

My confusion is this: Yes the Z10 doesn't NEED BIS for it to work i get that part. but if you have BIS will you still get the BIS perks like data compression and encryption? or is the Z10 seeing BIS and a "regular data plan" as the same thing?

My concern is that without BIS, will my data usage be higher? I travel a lot between USA and Canada and usually pay roaming while visiting Canada.. but since the data is push and compressed, it limits my data usage. Will transitioning to this phone make me pay more for roaming data? That would not be good.

Guys all about security ..if you chose to go with Regular data plan meaning you'll go directly over the internet while if you chose to keep a BIS plan your data will continue to go ober RIM architecture meaning will be secure

this kind of topic will not exist if thorsten did a better speech during the last show.
lack of information is never good

BlackBerry has a failure to communicate every time one of the talking heads opens their mouth. Why can't we get a definitive answer about BIS and BES requirements for BlackBerry Z10?

This is where I am really critical of BlackBerry - I have told them to clarify you don't need the BIS plan - you can use ActiveSync to get Outlook email - this is so important to market the phone, especially in the BYOD era people are using their iPhones and Android phones without the premium phone plan.

You either charge premium and get good service revenue which will dry up due to lack of phone demand

Or sell good phones and forget about the revenue from BIS plans over time.

BlackBerry needs to decide on their business model and quick.

So, is it possible to choose which APN the device uses?

Here in Austria you are enabled for both APN automatically. However the BIS data covers much more than the normal Internet plan.

Therefore I'd need an option to force BIS data on the device...

How about "clearing up the confusion: why no one gives a sh*# about the TWO MONTH DELAY for US customers". I guess you'd have to actually care, though...

As a T-Mobile prepaid customer, with my unlocked Torch, I had to pay $60 total to use the phone. It was $50 for 100 MB of data and the extra 10 for BBM (which i never used), Fb, Twitter, etc. I now pay $60 for 2 GB's of data on my Android slider. I was wondering when the devices came out on Wednesday whether I'd have to still pay the extra $10 this time as well.

Additional clarification would definitely be appreciated. I called in about my plan before pre-ordering on Telus and was told my current plan couldn't be used. They had to make a special exception to let me keep the voice plan (previous promo just slightly better than the current ones). This even though my plan had been advertised as for all pnones. I guess using BB with it made it a BB-plan and non-transferrable. Odd.

I'm also confused about BB10 and BIS. I just saw an article that mentioned BB10 will software encrypt data and send it directly to another phone without going through the rim service. I don't understand how this would work going from bb to a non bb phone? Also how is the encryption setup going from phone to phone? The article goes on to state that no privacy or security features are lost with BB10. I just want to understand how my data is compressed, encrypted or not encrypted or not compressed when using my phone on LTE and or public wifi

For reference this is the article I saw:

It is possible that things that go through the hub are encrypted. But everything else can't possibly be if the destination is not a BB phone.

The author u quoted is correct. The encryption is only for BlackBerry devices and only BlackBerry. Whatsapp etc are NOT part of BlackBerry services, which are not encrypted.

Shoot the question over to the source, but the article also said its no longer compressed. which is correct.

Your data (BB services) are encrypted on z10 or q10 itself and are sent via normal telco network as an encrypted package, directly to the other BlackBerry device which that device will then decrypt.

so this is why i see the BIS icon on Kevins demos. thats a good thing :) does BBM voice and Video go through BIS also liek regular BBM or will this rack up my data bill if not used on WiFi does this also mean push e mail rather then using Active sync. tehre is a delay with my playbook and my 9900 recieving e mails my 9900 coming about 5 minutes sooner, its actually instant. i would hope with the Z10 and BIS its the same

Crux of the matter is....BB servers just won't be able to handle hundreds of millions of users on BIS...Therefore what they can do that do need the end to end solution for their data... can be charged more and be provided a lot better and reliable service...same goes for any consumer that needs more security etc...:)

Yeah, you didn't clear up any confusion, just make us even more confused. I'm on an AT&T grandfathered BIS plan, which I would like to keep. Since I have to get a new SIM, will AT&T tell me that I have to get a new plan since my old SIM won't work? I've been jived by AT&T before (long story involving an old 8100 upgrading to a 9100) and I don't want to deal with that.

Also, what is this that my e-mail address won't work on OS10? It's linked to my BBID. Since plan to keep my BIS plan (unless AT&T gives me a problem) can keep my e-mail?

I think that this confused more people.
All I want to know .... is will I be able to save some money and get the same stuff I was getting before ( besides PINNING ... and I know I will be loosing that )

Clear as mud guys, someone needs to make it clear what the advantages of BIS are, is there still compression available if we opt for it with a BIS plan?
Article comes out with no clarification, site mods clearly reading the comments, but choosing not to answer this q. Weird.

As an enterprise user, what is the difference between Exchange over ActiveSync versus BES? Other than the security, wiping functionality etc, how does the end-user experience differ?

Read that article...

Well, okay. It's pretty clear with the encryption (which is still there) and compression (which is obviously gone), but I still DON'T FREAKING UNDERSTAND how are they going to keep the BlackBerry Push service without BIS. With BIS RIM servers have been doing all the job for the phone. They've been checking my e-mail box, my updates on Facebook and Twitter, new messages and updates on BBM and if there were any, they sent the signal to my provider using my BIS account and then my provider sent a signal to my phone telling it there are updates available. And that is what PUSH is about.

Without PUSH it'll be like on any other iPhone or Android - CONSTANT checking the server for updates. And it WILL KILL the battery!

Honestly, that is what bothers me the most and what I still cannot understand...

Exactly the sort of confusion that turns off a lot of people. Last thing you want after buying a new phone.

As a current BES user, I have ULT Blackberry data on my account and I've already pre-ordered my Z10 on the same user account and plan, so I'm extremely excited. I'll be on Canada's best network (Bell) and full time LTE service with ULT data + a white Z10 = Awesome!

“Think highly of yourself, because the world will take you at your own estimate.”

** Are there any advantages to connecting with a BB data plan as opposed to a standard plan? ** Does the BIS provide push email anymore or is it only activesync?

On the last earnings call, Thorstein alluded to "new services" that would be launched on BIS to slow or reverse the declining subscriber base, but it seems unclear that the new OS is actually using the old services let alone new ones. He should probably clear this up before his BB data plan income stream sees no value and jumps to standard plans... Given that their phones, don't seem to run fine without it, once the subscribers are no longer subscribed to BB data plans, it'll be a herculean task (probably involving a new contract without a new phone on most carriers) to get them back...

Agree. If millions of devoted BB users who are now willing to buy the new BB10 devices will realize that they don't need BIS anymore, how many $$$$$$$ will RIM (BlackBerry) lose????!!!!!!! Do they even understand the risk?

I agree this article is even more confusing. If I understood Blackberry's explanation a few months ago of how the new BB network would work: they are doing away with their proprietary mail handling system at their "Noc" as many seem to call it and instead are going to use activesync to exchange the mail on their network and then push it out. The process still uses the BB network we've become accustomed to receive and send email.

the other part of this, the phones like the playbook support activesync on the devices themselves meaning if you are not a BES or BIS subscriber you can still get push email and calendar from your providers like hotmail and gmail without the need for anything to connect to BB's network.

if anything using activesync will do a better job of handling my GMAIL for work and personal. On my playbook - i get full two way sync, i delete message on desktop its gone on the playbook, not true on the blackberry, its always been one way, i delete on the phone to get it off the others, but not the other way around.

I wish Adam never posted this "clearing up" article, because before it I was living a happy life, believing that my new Z10 will rock my unlimited BIS plan and will keep getting all the goodies such as PUSH, encryption and compression.

I even saw the news telling that RIM (BlackBerry) are updating their BIS Service to version 4.3 and the only downside of that was that they were going to stop providing the e-mail addresses to users. And I wasn't upset at all, because I have my e-mail.

But NOW! NOW i'm in stress....

There are a lot of good questions posted in these comments that show that nothing has been cleared up (besides the SIM card used, and that you don't NEED to use a BIS plan). But what if you want to/already have one anyway? Someone from one of these BB news sites really should reach out to RIM and get the official answers.

If the activesync minus any connection to the Blackberry network works like the playbook's activesync has since it was added to the playbook, there will be no issue with push email. I set up my gmail accounts on the playbook as exchange connections and the email actually comes in faster than it does on my blackberry on BIs by about 3-5 seconds consistently.

So on one hand the new devices working on their own without need for add on services is good for the non traditional blackberry user, they just set it up like any other device and boom. (another complaint that some used to have).

I played with an iphone 4 on my tmobile usa account (very fast on their UMTS 1900 network i might add) also set it up just like my playbook, worked great both directions, like the playbook the email came in faster than my 9780. I suspect the new BB's if setup like this will have a similar clean and fast experience for those who dont need the added BB services.

Yeah I, too, noticed that on my PB a few weeks ago. The first time I saw it come to my PB FASTER than my phone, I thought, "Whoa....that's nice."

Anyone have any idea whether the requirement to obtain the new micro sim card will $ cost us anything, or will it be provided by the carrier (Rogers in my case) free of charge? I'm guessing they'll take this an an opportunity to dip into my pocket again, but it would be nice if it was included in the activation fee.

It will come with the phone if you buy the phone from your carrier. If you buy it unlocked, you may have to pay $5 or $10 for the sim card.

There is no way that the BES plan makes any sense in regards to BES 10 services. If the whole point BES 10 is to compete in a BYOD business their is no way an employee is going to purchase an additional service for a personal phone.

They are just going to buy an android or apple phone instead of BB10 phone.

I personally think BlackBerry needs to issue a comment about this.

I'm not convinced that this article is correct about needing a BES data plan to use a BB10 device activated on BES10.

I'm trialling a BES10 server with a few WiFi only Playbooks and they get the full functionality of the Blackberry Device Service (BDS) over any WiFi connection to the Internet without any kind of data plan required. That's full remote management, IT Policies, Blackberry Balance controlling activesync accounts that are recognised as being for your work environment, and access to internal servers through MDS.

I can't see why the same functionality wouldn't work over a normal cellular data plan giving access to the Internet when it will work over Wifi. It's possible a BES data plan may be optional if you want your data to be secured over Blackberry's NOC instead of just going over the carrier's infrastructure and the Internet but certainly PlayBook OS doesn't need it to be managed by BES10. When I get my hands on a Z10 this month I will know for sure and report back here.

Thank you so much for this. Totally clears up all the confusion for. Can't wait for Tuesday morning sickness I can finally get my hands on one.

Thanks for this post.
Very clear, straight forward and on the point.

I will be sticking to my BIS full service plan for sure on Blackberry 10.

Based on this post that seems to be the way to go. But what if you want LTE speeds??? Is this why they had to go regular because the network is not able to handle that? Are they being squeezed by the carriers?

Ummmm ya that cleared up nothing. What would clear things up would be a detailed breakdown of the difference between BIS and other regular data plans. I'm pretty sure BIS was a key differentiator between iphone and droid. Or was that just false hope? Also if there is a difference in security, speed of receiving emails, and data compression I and I'm sure others would pay a little extra for that. Some help guys?

This article is very concerning and adds more confusion.

Having owned a BB since 2004 and purchasing the Playbook the 1st month of release, I was so anxious and looking forward to the next evolution from BBRY. It has always been the best communications device for me bar none but now I question if we are taking a step backwards and losing some of the most valuable features we have come to love and expect.

I am with most of you. Traveling to the US frequently and living in Canada where we have the highest roaming charges in the world I can't upgrade to Z10 until I know with 100% certainty that I still have the following:

POP3 PUSH email via BIS
Headers only download option
Filtering of POP3 within BIS to even further control what is PUSHed to my phone
Ability to manually select which emails to download full body and/or attachments
Compression of all EMAIL PUSHED or manually PULLED to the device to further reduce roaming charges.

If we lose PUSH POP3 email, headers only, compression of everything and move to a PULL vs PUSH model not only will our battery die that much faster or data usage will sky rocket and our roaming fees will bankrupt us. I already attempt to use WiFi as much as possible while roaming but there simply are times when WiFi is not available. Not everyone has IMAP or Exchange servers and it will be very disappointing if they have abandoned their traditional customer.

You have to live in Canada to understand and appreciate the outrageous roaming fees we pay to the big ugly 3 to appreciate the importance and benefit of these features.

I was on-board with purchasing my new Z10 Feb 5th and hopefully we all will have cleared this up by then with positive news. Otherwise, I for one will have to hold off moving to the Z10 which I am hoping won't be the case. If we do lose all of this, then I have personally lost the major advantages of being a BlackBerry fanatic and this levels the playing field and would only make sense to look at the competition to see what they have to offer. BIS to some of us is a key strategic advantage unique to BBRY and I for one hope we don't lose all of the capabilities, especially around email, moving to BB10.

Please don't go to your carrier for explanations, they simply don't know the answers and then as usual they will start to spread negative and vicious rumors and won't stop even if this ultimately is resolved with positive news. IMHO, it is best we figure this out amongst ourselves or directly with BlackBerry.

I don't think you get robbed more than we got here down in Mexico.

I'm also worried too cause all de BIS Plans down here are cheaper than iPhone or Droid Plans.


I am heading to the USA in a weeks time and will decide if I get a Z10 after I get back. I am worried that if I roam with the new phone, there may be some surprises when it comes to roaming data usage.

Ha! Clear as mud. And what about bbm on wi-fi? Before you had to buy a bis plan to access bbm. Good luck with asking the carrier's reps anything. The last time that i shopped my unlocked bb around for a new plan most of the reps didn't even know what bis is.

If it works with any data plan, then it works with WiFi only. It's not that hard to figure.

It's all about the BBID now.

I guess after reading all of this the main questions still are;
1 Is BBM still encrypted
2 Is BBM still free
3 Is email still pushed
4 Whats up with data compression

All assuming not connected to wifi.

This confused trail is one of many examples of poor BlackBerry customer service.
Users are clamoring around with their 'best guest' while BB ignores direct requests with "see Crackberry or other".
BB's online help is abysmal.
Who but the manufacturer should resolve all issues.
I don't have an iPhone but when I have questions of Apple be it by phone or online, I get answers.
It seems so simple.

Had a pet rock and now I have a playbrick.

I agree. Perfect example of bad customer service of a company that does not have a clear line.

I have a 6 gig "BlackBerry Data" plan with Virgin Mobile. I would rather keep it than switch to some 1 gig non-BlackBerry plan for the same fee... and so I shall. (Keep it, I mean)

can you use BBM on Q10 and Z10 with just regular data plan? Does it mean if I buy a Z10 with a valid SIM card but no data plan, but going to use WIFI, I can use BBM no problem? Currently most chat app (Whatsapp, LINE, VIBER, etc) can use wifi just to chat without data plan (whatsapp needs valid SIM).

Adam, the point I am wondering about is speed.

We all know that java-based devices were a tad slower than the competition, not only because the browser was not that good but also because they didn't have a direct connection to the internet. The device had to request it to the BIS server, which would then fetch the data, compress it and finally send it to the device.

If I decide to keep my unlimited data/unlimited tethering BIS plan, will the extra steps make my device not as fast as it could be, or it just won't matter - the BIS serve will just identify BB10 and grant it access to whatever it is looking for online?

The whole BIS issue with BB10 is a complete dogs breakfast.

You'd think RIM/BB would have sorted this issue out well before launch day and explained it clearly to existing and potential end users. The whole mess is causing an untold amount of fear, uncertainty and doubt about BB's intentions.

This can't be good for their bottom line and goodwill.

1. BIS is a lifesaver in slow connection countries, but not in fast connection countries. People (says they) don't need extra compression on LTE network.
2. To attract more people in fast connection countries (who don't want extra charges for BIS) they drop the BIS on BB10.
3. This is a move to win carrier's support too. With no BIS required all the data usage fee goes to carrier's pocket. No wonder carriers say they want BB10. It give them more profit.
4. This, is the answer to my government's demand to RIM that they were given a year to build data center here in my country or banned for good. This way they don't need to build servers anywhere.

The downsides are:
1. With no BIS, carriers are the one who benefit the most. Not users. Unless carriers adjust their regular data plan to match old unlimited BIS plan, I think I will need to compare which device will save me data usage the most.
2. Security. Now carriers will be the servers, they will have the access to whatever data that used to be encrypted at blackberry servers. Governments don't need to ask blackberry anymore if they want access to certain ввм™, etc.
3. The price vs what we get. You are lucky if you live in a place where carriers don't cap your regular data plan. You are not lucky if your carrier capped your regular data plan. You are lucky if your carrier have unlimited regular data plan.

I will have to rethink about buying any of BB10 devices.

RIM needs to post a clarification on how things work in BB10; I have some of the details, but unfortunately they were provided to me under NDA, so I can't share much at this point.. What I can say is that basically, RIM now allows the carrier a choice in how they offer data plans for BB10.. They can continue to use the old BIS-style data plan, but with certain limitations, or they can go "BIS-less" but still offer a BlackBerry-only data plan, or they can use the same generic data plan that they offer for all other phones, so depending on your carrier, you may have different options..

In all three cases, BlackBerry-specific traffic (eg BBM, enterprise traffic, etc) still gets routed back to the closest RIM NOC..

From deremi's and your post I can confirm one thing. Carriers wins. The options offered to carriers from blackberry give carriers a chance to get more profits, while also get all data transferred from and to BB10 devices.

Carriers get more profits because BB10 don't have compression like old  devices, so they can expect more data consumption. If your carrier doesn't have unlimited data plan, you will find yourself being charged for extra data usage more often than when you use your old  device.

On BB10 devices, all the features will still be usable (bbm, push notifications,etc). But all the data will only be routed via carrier's except for ввм™ and BES users. So that means ввм™ is secured. BES users are also secured. Good to know that on BB10 at least ввм™ and BES are secured.

What worries me is how carriers will play. Currently I have unlimited bbplan (bbm,apps,emails,browsing-but no streaming) for Rp 125.000,00 per 6 months. That's right, not per months, but 6months. That's a ±$12,5 per 6 months or ±$2 per month. While in the normal/regular data plan, what I get from the same carrier is Rp 125.000,00 for 5gb only, per month. Lucky me, we don't have subsidized contract so I can jump to cheaper carriers anytime I want. You are not lucky if your carrier charges more for normal/reguler data plan than for BIS plan and you are on contract.

Carriers wins. Viva le carriers.

Blackberry's main differentiator has been push email. Can the consumer segment still use BIS to get push email, particularly for people with ISPs that are still POP3. If there is no push due too the lack of BIS, this is a real step backwards for the consumer segment.

Thanks... this certainly helps to clear up some of the issues. Rather displeased to see the loss of data compression (as I travel overseas often and the data efficiency of [legacy] BBs has been essential to keeping my roaming charges in check). As well, I hope Blackberry has something up their sleeve for emerging markets, as the ability to provide relatively cheap data-services has been key for keeping them in the game.

So, it's either full-pack or nothing at all?

Well, I suppose it's a good time to brace myself for limited data plan.

This issue is bringing all the confusions in the world, at least to me. Now it seems that must decide between speed (and extra costs) and security.
As it always happens in this "electronic world" , the safest thing to do is to wait for all the initial glitches to be cleared and solved rather than jumping fast to each new thing available.
In a way, I am happy to have to wait until March (at least) when the first BB10's are available in the USA and much more in regards to see how will be the way that AT&T will "react" to the new phones.

This is great news, spl. in price sensitive countries like India. After BB10, I'm sure it's a BIG win situation for BB here in India.. People are crazy for BB n BBM. If BB is clever,and can offer a range of products like they have right now (starting from 10K to 35K), they can just wipe out the competition- big time! AND, one big advantage they have- a smartphone with established QWERTY.

The only reason I can think of for not having a BIS plan is to speed up the browser on 3G. It's always been the weakest part of the BB experience..... Embarrassing to use in front of others !

So does this mean the new BlackBerrys will work with prepaid data services that don't support older BlackBerrys? (AT&T GoPhone, Straight Talk, etc.)

I bought the Blackberry z10 today and I am on bell. I have a smartphone data plan and I can confirm that data does not work.

I know there is allot of misinformation going on and some of that is saying BBRY is abandoning their BIS/NOC. That isn't happening at all!! BlackBerry never made any SUCH ANNOUNCEMENT AT ALL about that. So please STOP spreading such nonsense!! BlackBerry 5/6/7 is going to be supported for a LOOONG LOOONG time still. IT SAYS SO on blackberry's website for pete's sake!!

I'm going to be making a video blog on this by tomorrow, linking to this article.

Please update this story
Canadian wireless provider Bell forces the Z10 onto APN which requires a Blackberry-provisioned plan, apparently even unlocked devices from other providers switch to when a Bell SIM is inserted.
I called Blackberry and spoke to someone in Technical Support, this is the body of the email I received shortly thereafter:


In response to your request, the following course of action has been provided.

If you have any questions concerning this request, please reply to this email within the next three (3) days.

BlackBerry Z10- Customer wants to know if he will need a BIS plan for a BlackBerry 10..

Advised the customer that he needs a BIS plan for his BlackBerry 10 device

BlackBerry Customer Support Center

I hope that this is wrong or that it changes, I would really like to get a Z10, but I can't or won't give up my current plan.


I haven't switched from my 9900 because I don't have enough information about losing my BIS. We can use my situation as a discussion point;

SO far I known that with my BIS i can use 500mb/month of data, where if I didn't have BIS it would be around a gig. I also know when I'm over seas where internet is restricted, I can still surf over wifi to all websites with BIS with no issues. When I set up my 9900 as a mobile hotspot, or use the bridge, I'm not charged for hotspot use. My plan for unlimited everything and BIS with 500mb's is $50 tax in, but the closest I can get to $50 on rogers only gives me 150mb regular internet, which from what I read on the iPhone/Android can easily be eaten up over night if I forget to change the updates settings for my apps.

So can anyone provide me with some reasons that I should give this up for a regular smartphone data plan? I'm a heavy app user, sending emails, BBMs with file attachments, whatsapp, facebook, twitter, Shazaam, gps navigation with Blackberry Traffic, and download maybe 5-10 mp3's directly to my phone per month when looking for music. I only use wifi when I am at home.

2 Blackberry reps came to my office to display them, one was really knowledgeable, but had a big group around her and due to work only had time to speak with the other guy, who really had no idea about data plans. He really only knew about the camera...

I love my 9900 and might hold out till the Q10

I called the Airtel Customer Care in India and talked to them at length about the process of shifting to Z10 and they were quite knowledgeable...

Questions I asked:

1. Would the regular BIS work on Z10? A: No... Regular 3G / GPRS Plan is what is required. Those who are on unlimited BIS also will also not get it.

2. Micro SIM Card availability: Available with any Airtel Relationship center.

3. When the updates come will it be OTA or tied to Airtel? Answer: Not sure but most likely they will be OTA as and when BB releases them. I am planning on using my office mobilenet to connect and work.

4. BES? I will have to get that from the company IT.

I booked my phone through UNIVERCELL and they said that I will get the phone withing 7 working days, so I booked... Hopefully I should get it by Monday... Just cant wait now...

I am on Idea Maharashtra. For last two days I am strugling to activate my BB z10. Nobody in My Idea knows about which plan is needed for this handset. I replaced my SIM on day on. Then I was adviced to deactivate my BB plan. After doing that, my handset do not go ahed. It Stucks to you do not have data plan. Can anybody suggest what is the solution.

So will I receive unlimited data with the bis package I currently have on my bold 9900 or will I have to use the 100MB data I get from my carrier.

I'm still a bit I don't need a bis and can use other plans. does that include non smart data plan? On att all unlimited smart data plans for each platform where $30 then when they went to limited plans 2gb and 200mb later 3gb 300mb and now the shared madness but in the limited non shared plans they all cost the same just used a diff code per device. However non smart phone data plan is $10 and unlimited not figuring in the shared madness.

guyz i wana use the BIS399 over Z10 bt my operator says wont b able to use it with unlimited net... other plans sucks in speed besides 3g. if i use regular 3g plan then it gona cost me atleast 1500. what to do !!!!!!

Just a few weeks to Z10 launch in Brazil. So, if anyone knows the answer, please help me here: What is the real difference between BIS and a regular (non blackberry) smartphone data plan? Is there any benefit using BIS like better cryptography or something?

Here in Brazil, BIS use to be expensive then the regular. But, its a small difference and its ok to me.

Thank you.

Just for the Record. UK USERS .You need a Blackberry Plan to use BBM as for internet on your phone you will also need a Data bundle that's not included on some networks.It costs £5 amonth on all networks except GiffGaff. its £3 on that network. I have spoken to a lot of people about this. BBM don't work without it and until your emailed from Blackberry or they send a bulletin out to tell you there service is changing. BELIEVE NOTHING YOU READ ON THE INTERNET ITS ALL BUMFLUFF! There has been rumours about everything over the years that this will end that will be billed. Playstation will start charging for online play. Like Xbox live. Its still not happened so just ignore the crap. Im sure your network will tell you of any changes and drop Alerts on your handset via push services should things change. So to save any problems. Keep your BIS plan. ! If you cancel this plan it can take a while to re-activate. Giffgaff you will lose your service until your next goodybag starts and you add the BBM bundle again.

Just to put an end to it for me: I can use my BB10 device with EVERY carrier/provider on the planet, with no extra BB plans and use BES10 ?

So, does that mean we can use BBM with the $60 unlimited data package or not?
I'm planning to buy the Blackberry Q10 and the sales person of the at&t store told me if you are planning not to take the contract, then you can use bbm via the data plan.
Although the online rep lady told me, it's not worth it.
I don't mind if it doesn't have the voice or video feature as long as I can use the BBM chat.
So, I am confused as to what I should opt for :/

I'm going to travel to Hong Kong , and I don't want to be charged with roaming fees. So I'm thinking of getting a prepaid sim card instead and purchase a 5 day pass for example for my Q5 its unlocked. Will it work?

PS. The sim I am referring to is the 'Discover Hong Kong Tourist SIM Card'
Yes, there is a note there that it doesn't support blackberry devices, but I'm thinking that that refers to the pre-blackberry 10 devices like Bold 9900 and such.

This has really helped, I planning on getting a Z10 soon and I don't have to mess around without internet because of my contract!

One Big question is that I will Blackberry Protect work on non BIS data plans.
I have tried but my device is not getting registered. I am using Z10