updated 11:14 am EST, Wed December 19, 2012
Four main carriers to sell new RIM handset at launch
Major phone networks in the United Kingdom have expressed their intent to support BlackBerry 10 handsets when they are released. Carriers Vodafone, O2, Three, and EE will all carry the new handsets, which are set to be on sale shortly after Research In Motion's operating system global launch event, set for January 30th.
The announcements were picked up by TechCrunch, with EE, O2, and Vodafone all claiming their support for the platform. EE's response covers both T-Mobile and Orange as well as it's own 4G network, and a later response from Three confirmed they will offer customers the devices. Canadian carrier Rogers has already opened BB10 devices up for reservations ahead of the launch.
Despite the number of global shipments of BlackBerry OS smartphones decreasing over time, BlackBerry continues to have a high number of users in the United Kingdom. BlackBerry has a suprisingly high amount of users in the UK, with an Ofcom poll in March 2011 claiming 24-percent of smartphone users owning a BlackBerry handset, and 37-percent of teenagers opting for it over other brands. These figures exceed the 11.5-percent of global market share for the same point in time by IDC, and although global share has reduced to just 4.8-percent by mid-2012, UK user numbers are also expected to lower, if not to the same global levels.
The global launch, being held in multiple cities simultaneously and including London in the locations list, will see at least one handset being shown at the event. Images of the L-Series device have already been leaked, showing what appears to be a completed touchscreen smartphone ready for shipping, though there is still a chance another device with a keypad will also make an appearance.