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Why is EE only selling BlackBerry's to UK business users?

By James Richardson on 1 Apr 2014 10:29 am EDT
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Considering EE is the biggest network in the UK they seem to have lost some faith in BlackBerry 10 on the consumer front. With EE being the first carrier in Great Britain of roll out 4G and with all BlackBerry 10 devices having LTE compatibility you would have thought that they would offer all four current handsets to both consumers and business users alike. But things seem to have changed.

I noticed a short while ago that there were no longer any BlackBerry 10 devices available to buy for consumers on the EE website. At the time I thought this may well just be a temporary glitch but over a week later and still none are available. Yet jump over to the business site and there's a nice selection to choose from. Business customers currently have the choice of the Z10, Q5 and Q10.

I realize that BlackBerry are wanting to regain lost market share in the enterprise space but if business users are willing to support BlackBerry 10 surely it makes sense for EE to offer the devices to consumers as well. After all, they have done until recently. Sure, we know that BlackBerry 10 sales have not been brilliant, but that's not going to change if the biggest carrier in a strong BlackBerry market is not even giving consumers the option.

I'm hoping that EE will see sense in the very near future and once again make BlackBerry 10 smartphones available to both business users and consumers alike. If they have a change of heart we'll let you know, but in the meantime feel free to hit up the comments with your thoughts. Or maybe even tweet them @EE and vent your frustration?

Reader comments

Why is EE only selling BlackBerry's to UK business users?

95 Comments

If everybody started a business then everyone could have a BlackBerry AND we'd solve any lingering national financial concerns! #2birds1stone ;)

Savvas John Savva, Owner of Skill 7 Youth Football Coaching - www.skill7.org - Z10 UK EE

EE are certainly not as good as Orange used to be (if you want 4G and you are an Orange user, you have to migrate your account to EE - note: EE are the parent company of both Orange UK and t-Mobile UK)

I agree with PaulPaul49, not even the staff are fussed about selling BlackBerry. It's sad, BlackBerry really need to advertise heavily, maybe a special trade in scheme if moving over from an iPhone!

Posted via CB10

It would be something to do with the fact that EE are a bunch of MF's!! Service falls over all the time and they will never reimburse you or apologise. True about being looked at as if you are an alien. I am on Orange (EE) and love my Z10! No I am not a business user I bought my handset SIM free.

And that's why I left T-mobile years and years ago and never looked back.

Knowledge is power... Posted via CB10

I've had a Z10 on EE since launch and I noticed this a week or so back as well.

I'm completely peed of with them and will change carrier in a few months if things don't change and they re-offer consumer blackberry phones again.

It's outrageous, and makes me so angry, ggrrr.

Posted via CB10

Same here, got my Zeddy Bear on launch, after much delays. I do love the add ons I currently enjoy with EE (free deezer account that streams music separate from your data allowance and a whopping 10 gig per month) but come upgrade time it's only a device beginning with B and ending with Y that I want to hear about being offered to me or else, I'm jumping ship.

.2141 what's the difference? .1925 still the bangingest til I know any different.

I'm on Orange through EE, and I own a Q5. I managed to persuade my mum to get a Z10, but when she called Orange / EE, they kept trying to sell her another phone. Disgraceful really. She has to buy it Sim-Free for £189 now. When you mention Blackberry everyone thinks of the small qwerty keyboard phone with the clock symbol popping up all the time. Some people are really ignorant, wake up and explore new things. Don't be an 'iSheep' or a blind follower of any phone maker. Just because you had difficulties with old phones doesn't mean the companies phone will always be like that. Apple add little things to their devices and call it a new phone and everyone drools over it and purchases a £600 phone for a couple of new features. Rant Over.

Posted via CB10 on the White BBQ5

" Just because you had difficulties with old phones doesn't mean the companies phone will always be like that."

Please let me know when BlackBerry changes the "difficulties" of owning a BlackBerry.... Installing leaks, sideloading, bar files, security permissions, 3rd party apps stores.... yeah it's so easy these days.

Difficulties aside, I think the work you are looking for is marketing - that is how most companies get the word out about a new product or change the perception of a product.

This is exactly why BlackBerry should have put sales numbers over profit over a year ago. Instead of sitting on loads of stock, they needed to sell the stuff, at a loss if necessary, in order to get the OS out and stir confidence in the ability of BlackBerry 10 to sell. Since the cuts, I've seen loads of BlackBerry 10 phones here in London, and this could have happened ages ago.

It's still not completely too late. They need to spam the market a bit with cheap Foxconn devices and kill off this lingering doubt about whether BlackBerry 10 is even going to be around. The Z3 is a start, but another cheap device, a Z10 sized low end device, should be released as well. Sell the things at cost for goodness' sake. BlackBerry need to be thinking of Christmas sales of higher end devices and that requires a larger OS base and hope for better app migration. The idea that the public won't buy BlackBerry is insane. It's simply that the public won't buy BlackBerry for simply no reason. They need a little push, and price will do it.

Join the Cause @ BlackBerry Bootleg Marketing Channel - C003483F4

yup... they were too greedy for margin initially and ended up having to swallow even slimmer margins (and losses) anyway. Never underestimate the attractive power of a low price.... I'm surprised BlackBerry didn't know this given the loads of (let's be honest) sh*t BBOS phones they were successfully selling for cheap around the world. Those things only sold because they were/are cheap.

Here's a perfect example. The Bold 9900 (9930) is still available new on Verizon in the US, but sells for the same price as the Galaxy S4 and HTC One (2013), and $100 MORE THAN THE Q10! This is a very old, obsolete legacy phone we're talking about. So for $500, you can get the new Z30 or the 3 year old 9930. Way to go BB!

Blame verizon for that one. Blackberry cannot force the carrier to sell this or that unless they're bribed, which likely didn't happen. Verizon is just trying to sell off stock at high profits, higher than normal that is. Scream at them, don't say blackberry is to blame.

You're wrong, BlackBerry sets the price with the carriers. It's a mutual agreement. That's why the Q10 and Z10 are selling on Verizon at big discounts (less than the old 9930). BlackBerry is hoping corporate customers will still buy the 9930, and those customers are notoriously less price sensitive than consumers. This is BlackBerry being greedy (and naive), plain and simple.

Posted via the Android CrackBerry App!

If they would have done that a year ago they would have run bankrupt by now. This strategy - pricing & marketing - was all they could afford.

Have a nice day

That was my point exactly... by thinking that way, they ended up having to write off much bigger losses anyway. Might as well have started pricing low, grow the market share, avoid the bad press of all the write-offs and low sales, etc. Sure, revenues would have been sacrificed either way, but at least they would have market share, more positive consideration by consumers, and a stabilized user base to show for it rather than just piles of unsold devices.

And trust me, the margins in the Z10 and Q10 at their original prices seemed pretty high based on those early quarter filings.

Posted via CB10

It is not simply EE, three said that they see BlackBerry as dying and are positioning windows phone as their third platform. It isn't hard to see why - people are going to whine about sales staff but we know that the majority of consumers know what they are going to buy before they work into a store - BBRY simply has never spent enough - look at the pathetic 'launch' of the Z30 - it consisted of a small group of journalists in a small room, that was the start and the end of it.

Even if someone is undecided, the carriers are looking for co-funding to push the phones and bbry simply didn't spend the cash (partly because they don't have it).

Moreover When you take into account that bb7 outsells bb10 2:1 and bbry overall is heading towards a zero share, no surprise carriers are pulling the plug. I wouldn't expect any UK carriers to be carrying Bb10 devices for consumers by year end.

Phones4U certainly don;t stock any BBs. CPW have a handful of OS7/OS10 devices but it's a UK wide problem.

Got the Z10 on EE not long after it launched and I was thinking about upgrading early but given they no longer offer BlackBerry phones, I might either have to get the next new BB's sim only, or if I can get a better deal, move to another carrier. It's basically a lose lose situation Blackberry has here. Sales are already bad and carriers are just making it worse. Ultimately, that is business.

Posted via CB10

I went into the ee shop to purchase a Z30 and they told me blackberry is out of business and I should get the galaxy 5 instead.

Perhaps EE BlackBerry users should think about changing carriers (it's easy enough to unlock a BlackBerry ) and let EE know why they are leaving them.

Posted via CB10

Also...what about future OS updates from EE. They've been pretty good so far in releasing software updates for BB10 fairly quickly.

I just wonder if this will change now.

As I've already said above....I'm well peed off with them!!

Posted via CB10

As Paul said it's the same in Ireland ask for BlackBerry... staff look at you if you have 10 heads...... BlackBerry are just not getting phones to shops and educating phone store staff on BlackBerry 10 ....no Q5 or z30 in Ireland would struggle to find a z10 or q10.. ......

Posted via CB10

As has already been said, walk into any U.K carrier shop and you'd be hard pressed to find them selling BlackBerry phones of any kind now other than maybe cheapo BlackBerry 7 handsets for £70 and under on PAYG. Not to mention ill advised staff who either just plain and simple don't know anything about BlackBerry 10, or try and persuade you into buying ios or android offerings.

Added to the fact that walk into any carphone warehouse or likewise shop and you'll be greeted with numerous android touting tablets and it's easy to see what BlackBerry no longer is viable to sell anymore..see that corner over there...you'll find the miserable array of BlackBerry offerings over there sir!!

Posted via CB10

I have had a Z10 on EE since launch and got my phone from the UK shop phones 4 u. They offer a pretty good deal where you can upgrade up to year early. Went in the other day to see if they were stocking Z30 but a sales rep informed me that phones 4 u fell our with BlackBerry and so wouldn't be stocking BlackBerry for the foreseeable future. I think that in the UK most people get there phones through this kind of early upgrade service so it is a real shame. Phones 4 u rivals are carphone warehouse and they stock BlackBerry but they don't offer early upgrades although I would be able to get the z30 (or better, hoping it's better) on EE. I'll be due to upgrade in under a year and I really don't want to have to look at a different carrier.

Does anyone know what happened between phones 4 u and BlackBerry?

You don't pluralize words in English with an apostrope. Apostrophies are used for possessives and contractions. The plural of Blackberry is Blackberries (or to preserve the branding Blackberrys)

Might be correct to an American. In the country where English was invented, it's with an 's', old boy...

Definitely with an 's' in the Commonwealth. I think Americans (of the US variety) adopted the 'z' along with their declaration of independence. :)

Posted via CB10

Listening to a few John Chen Interviews, and from what I've gathered is he is working hard to re-establish Carrier Relations and putting smart marketing behind each BB10 device sold by the Carrier. In doing so, he hopes the Carriers also assist in the advertising of those devices.

Any Carrier that refuses to provide platform choice for its customers regardless of platform needs to have a serious head exam. Because that a very arrogant stance to take, especially when you have Carrier staff lying to customers about BBRY.

Let me walk into a Carrier store and have them tell me BBRY has gone out of business, then recommend me buy a Droid/iSheep device, then be prepared for a defamatory litigation suit. Because that is Flat Out Lying and miss-leading customers.

We can all agree BlackBerry completely messed up BB10's Marketing efforts and contributed to its image issues, but lying to customers? Complete Nonsense.

Posted via CB10

That's nonsense, people on BYOD plans should be able to pick one up from an EE shop. BlackBerry 10 is not better designed for businesses than it is for consumers. With their reasoning, they should only make them available through a corporate account manager...

As it happens, I was in a Vodafone UK shop on Princes Street, Edinburgh earlier this morning.
A lady in her late 50s or early 60s came into the shop to buy a new phone. It looked like she was after her first smartphone; the sales assistant showed her about three android devices, and then sold her a Sony, which she bought outright.
You can't win them all, but BlackBerry needs to do something.

Posted via CB10

On the Forums today Crackberry are promoting 3 UK when they have stopped stocking blackberry phones completely! At least you can still get the phones from EE on their business tariffs.

Posted via CB10

It is not and should not be a surprise as JC has said they will focus on Enterprise.
But then he has also said things about high end "prosimer" phones.

Take your pick.

BlackBerry. More of the same.

Posted via Verizon Z10 - OS v10.1.2.2174

I got my Z10 from EE when it was released. I wanted a Z30 a few weeks ago, noticed that they didn't stock it - altho' at the time the Z10 was still available SIM free. I ended getting it elsewhere for a decent price.

Certainly, and member of staff saying 'Blackberry is dead' shouldn't, as it's not true. However, in the bigger scheme of things, and with the fact in mind that your average EE or any phone shop bod. hasn't exactly had to train for 5 years to work there, BB may as well be 6 feet under. I think they should at least off the phones SIM free, but it's supply and demand, ultimately. If only 1 in 100 punters are even vaguely looking at a BB10 handset from their recent sales figures, why would you continue to push it? We know BB10 works well, and is worthy of it's place at the top table, but Blackberry missed the boat long ago, and are just paying the price now.

Maybe JC is the man to turn fortunes around, but he's got his work cut out.

I had this problem last month with EE. My Z10 contract was up and I wanted the 30. Woman in store tried to sell me another phone instead and asked why I would want a BlackBerry. Woman in customer services though was more sympathetic and said she still uses a 3 year old Curve and loves it, and doesn't understand why they don't sell the Z30.

I got a Z30 off eBay at a decent price, and called EE back and threatened to leave and move to 3 (which I really didn't want to after past awful experiences with 3). EE customer retention dept offered me a great deal, so now I'm only paying £18 a month with them for free calls, texts and 8gb on one year contract.

Although it is a catch 22, (if phones aren't selling then why stock them, but if you don't stock them then they won't sell), I can't believe that some of the phones they do stock can shift many units. Some of them I've never heard of or seen before, and I wonder whether anybody has ever walked into any of their stores and asked for that particular model. The alcatel one touch idol s for example. they can't possibly sell more of those than BlackBerry phones?!

Posted via CB10

Time to sell directly to the consumer.

Shop BlackBerry website should be GLOBAL.

With all markets available to consumers. Wherever there is demand. BlackBerry must be there.

The question for Mr Chen is how are you going to get the carriers back with BlackBerry ?

Enterprise is one way , but is it enough?

There seems to be a lack of vision and continuity. A short term instead of a long term strategy.

Personally I would like to see Foxconn build a 7 and 10 inch tablet running BB10.2. 1 with a better U I and camera. Obviously with QNX underpinning it all.

BlackBerry has gone into hiding and is not showing enough courage.

HTC have shown more despite their troubles. More people are willing to buy HTC devices than BlackBerry? Why ?

Z3 and Q20?

Is that it? We need at least a tablet with a 1080p screen.

Carriers will not support BlackBerry until there is a proper and consistent marketing and execution strategy.

You will not get consumers support without it.

A 1080p tablet will Paratek technology by Christmas 2014 .

Show them all that BlackBerry is still fighting and ready to KICK all the critics in the nuts.

That's your mission Mr Chen should you choose to accept it.

BlackBerry...Get it done!!!

Posted via CB10

I'm not surprised by this to be honest. My business account was with Orange since late 90's and we started using BlackBerry devices since early 2000 ish. Yet since the EE change over we noticed many problems occurring to long to list here.
The final straw was the wish of many of us to switch to the new 10 operating system, me myself was tempted by the new Z10, but stayed loyal to my bold until I read about the Z30. That's were EE customer and business service shocked me to a whole new level.
They ridiculed us for using BlackBerry in the first place, told us that the devices we were wishing didn't exist, and when we did wish to change to other devices (some blackberry, some others as well) decided to over charge us a insane amount for administration costs.
The straw that broke the camels back, was finally finding that they also over charged us a hefty sum a few months prior, once pointed out and proven I asked to waver the admin costs and supply the necessary phones, this they refused, so we decided to switch contract suppliers and were all back using BlackBerry. EE didn't seem to bothered to be losing a business contract that they had for almost 17yrs and when I did vent my complaints, they very much went unanswered (were also still awaiting the refund).
Now if people wish to keep using EE / Orange please don't let my or other people's bad experiences waver you, but there marketing and customer service strategies are beyond a joke and actions like this still don't surprise me.

Posted via CB10

Today's news about the PlayBook updates is a sign for what's to come for the phone side?

PlayBook UK BBM Channel C001CB4A1

Start emailing and tweeting and Facebook in, and any other social media you can think of and tell them to bring back BlackBerry 10 phones for the consumers.

Tim Smith from my Z10 on Rogers

Slightly off topic maybe, but I have just returned from a week in Dubai. In the malls there is a huge Blackberry store with all of the devices on sale including the Porsche Design model. There must have been in excess of 40 customers in there when I called in. Many were buying and others were getting demonstrations from staff, it was so good to see. Also, whilst travelling around the city there were plenty of huge advertisements for both Blackberry 10 and the Z30 on roadside hoardings. As well as the Blackberry store, all phone shops stocked BB handsets too! Very refreshing.

I agree. Ultimately, the difference between "business" and "consumer" in today's increasingly mobile-centric world is pretty minimal. Enterprise will eventually buy the phones that its people want to use. That's why -- in the US -- the company making the biggest strides in enterprise is Apple, the biggest consumer computing brand.

Mike L. and Thor understood this. Mike L. in particular was enterprise-centric, but he also understood the trends and tried to address them with BB10. I think, in some ways, Chen sees BlackBerry as much smaller and more niched, or he's just going to repeat the same frustrating "business device" market definition until he realizes it doesn't sell phones. But, it may take him too long to learn that he can't define his way out of competing in the greater smartphone market.

EE will sell very few BlackBerry 10 devices by removing then from their main catalogue.

Posted via CB10

There seems to be a distinct difference between consumer and business. For example, the tech subsidy offered prices the Q5 or Z10 for only £19 each and EE are looking to offer cloud based BES10 services to businesses also. They are clearly committed to BlackBerry in enterprise.

Posted via CB10

All major carriers in the UK are slowly removing BB10 handsets from the consumer market. Look at o2 that's why I left them. I'm with 3 on the sin only unlimited all u can eat data. They've also stopped bb10 handsets. Currently it's only Vodafone that stocks them!

What BlackBerry should do is have an independent outlet where you can purchase directly from BlackBerry as most BlackBerry users are save enough to grab a SIM only deal and buy the handset directly.

I've always got my OS7 handsets on contract since the z10 I've bought them out right SIM Free.

Another option would be have small BlackBerry stalls in every major shopping centre, that in itself would be advertising that BlackBerry is not dead! That way no snobby sales rep can say BlackBerry is dead blah blah blah! When BlackBerry have a stall themselves in the shopping centre.

Posted via CB App on my White Z30 :)

As an EE Business customer (Public Sector) it may not make happy reading for CrackBerry fans but this doesn't surprise me at all. This is the future for BlackBerry in the Western world where it's consumer marketshare has collapsed.

BlackBerry's focus is now Enterprise in the Western, developed, world. EE sell 3 out of the 4 BB10 phones currently available to Enterprise, largely the Public Sector who still find solace in BlackBerry's security credentials.

EE isn't going to sell something to consumers that consumers aren't buying. BB10 has had its chance with EE all last year. The phones didn't sell to consumers in high enough quantities, we all know the many varied reasons for that.

Why would they keep paying to train consumer support staff in BB10, a minority mobile OS that isn't selling well to consumers, as well as paying to train Business support staff too when they are only seeing significant sales on the business side? These are money making private companies, not charities. As with most carriers in the Western world, BlackBerry had their chance with BB10 in 2013 and blew it.

For the record I love BB10 and my workplace loves the BB10 phones I've deployed to its staff. But I'm a realist, the consumer space in the UK is lost to the point that carriers can't make money, or enough money, from the trickle of consumer BB10 sales.

Posted via CB10 on Z30 STA100-2 /10.2.1.2141 on O2 UK - Activated on BES10.2.1

Selling direct to the consumer seems a strategy worthy of further exploration.
You can, after all, buy an iPhone direct from an Apple 'Store'*, and choose a contract to go with it.

I'm not suggesting BlackBerry can offer the same retail experience as Apple, but I can see them selling enough handsets direct to the consumer to be a good proposition to network providers.

(Being Scottish, I cringe at the word store - a store is where you store stuff, a shop is where you shop. Thank goodness BlackBerry World is not another 'store')

Posted via CB10

Hear hear! It's a chuffing SHOP not a store! ;)

Posted via CB10 on Z30 STA100-2 /10.2.1.2141 on O2 UK - Activated on BES10.2.1

I have posted this many times, Blackberry does a very poor in terms of marketing , I have shown many people my z10 they love it but the question that is asked most times, I though Blackberry was in trouble it is that idea that is killing this company, it is the complete lack of proper marketing that is telling the consumer's and business we do not give a toss about the company, It is a great product, but it needs a company that believes it also and right now I am not seeing that they depend on customers to make videos praising it's products where it should be Blackberry doing it

Most Americans here seem to think T-Mobile USA is the main company in the T-Mobile group that, of course, must own everything else because it's American!

Posted via CB10 on Z30 STA100-2 /10.2.1.2141 on O2 UK - Activated on BES10.2.1

I bought a z30 two months ago in Canada at Bell, I had to ask to see the BlackBerry z30 as their was no demo..Salelady send me to another shop to see a demo one. None there either. Next day, I returned, she remembered me but thought I wanted a Samsung, I said I want to buy z30,she went to get one in a box. I told her I did not want to see any other brands. They are really not pushing it, in fact try to incite you not to buy it. As I had did my research on the Internet, and knew that I would be satisfied with the apps provided. The is my first mobile phone and love it.

I'm with EE and constantly abuse them on twitter about the lack of blackberry devices.
I have informed them they are losing me as a customer when my contract ends.
I have also cancelled my clone phone insurance policy as EE told me they cannot replace my BlackBerry for a BlackBerry if I claim.

Via CB10 from Scotland, while pretty stoned, using Z10STL100-2/10.2.1.2947.

Im confused. Q5 from EE being delivered tomorrow. They actually rang me and offered me any BB10 and the contract prices were really low

Posted via CB10

That's stock clearance selling to a 'dead cert guaranteed sale' customer. ;)

Posted via CB10 on Z30 STA100-2 /10.2.1.2141 on O2 UK - Activated on BES10.2.1

I've also seen the demise of any BBs on the shopfloor and very poor support in general from T-M/EE. The ONLY reason I am with T-Mobile is because they offer unlimited worldwide data at reasonable rates (previously £15/mth), otherwise I would have moved onto BB10 with Vodafone a long time ago...

I had someone today say "Is that a BlackBerry? Never seen one like that before...looks different to the others"..its a Z10...

it's just money talks with telephone retailers...P4U do not stock BB10 devices, they seem to be on Apple / Samsung commission...

My next purchase will be a Z30 Sim free and then put it on a 3 SIM only/ 30 day contract...

Posted via CB10

I asked them and this was due to the BBM being available on the iPhone and Android therefore sales have dropped

Posted via CB10

Getting sick of hearing about carrier lack of interest. Glad BlackBerry is selling directly and unlocked.

And with no BES to consumers.... handsets are loss making & without BIS in the consumer market that's 2 revenue sources gone, also looks like 2 MAJOR European telco partners are heading that way too... so that's 4 revenue sources...

Hauntingly the other day " I know I HAVE to make money" no shit Sherlock, consumers and businesses alike, don't take a degree or CEO to know basics...money makes the world go eound (just not BlackBerry World)

Sad to see what they CEO's have done and continue to do to BlackBerry, wonder who the new owner/s (sell of divisions) will be and how they will move forward...

If you can't beat me join em. BlackBerry needs to start their own personal and business plans.

Posted via CB10

They are flogging them at consumer on Orange & T-Mob (EE 50/50 owners), but Orange & T-Mob just pulled their online shops...consumers can only get a 4G BB10 device on 2G/3G Orange & T-Mob networks and instore ONLY. France's Orange & Germanies T-Mobile are 2 of the biggest mobile telcos after Vodafone (and they are spending billions beefing up backhaul).

Its a CEO job to ensure partners are there as a final hurdle...but Chen is even failing on that count...

One reason I hate contracts and glad I'm not tied into all this 'free phone' B.S. But sadly most people won't think of sticking with BlackBerry and go with what the shop has. What a shame. Do hope Blackberry can turn things around :(

Posted via CB10

We're lucky EE are selling BB10 devices at all!

BlackBerry just ended it's license with T-Mobile US, not a good move on their part, that road uphill gets steeper by the day.

Q10 SQN100-3/10.2.1.1925

EE has just launched a new £13.99 plan at Carphone Warehouse. The Z10 and Q5 are already there and new BB10 devices will join it soon. So no worries, just send them our way!

Posted via CB10