The Canadian export credit agency is trying to revive the ailing BlackBerry platform with special financing. Export Development Canada has given European carrier Telefonica a 200 million euro ($256 million) line of credit to buy BlackBerry hardware or services, hoping to "facilitate BlackBerry market share growth." Telefonica, which operates in around two dozen countries and has 315 million subscribers, is one of the world's biggest carriers. It's been receiving financing from the EDC since 2006, but this BlackBerry-specific earmark is new.
Export credit agencies often grant these credit lines to promote local businesses or build international trade relationships, and BlackBerry (then RIM) once dominated the emerging smartphone market and inspired the Canadian tech community. Now, though the company did post a modest profit after launching its first BlackBerry 10 phone earlier this year, it's seen sales slip drastically in past years and has become virtually a non-player in the US smartphone market.
BlackBerry still, however, maintains a presence in several developing nations, and a stronger relationship with Telefonica could bolster its presence in parts of Latin America or Europe. No matter how smooth the relationship between BlackBerry and Telefonica becomes, however, we're still waiting to see whether the phone maker can pull out of its long-running slump — and what will happen if it doesn't.