After a contentious year that temporarily splintered their business relationship, T-Mobile and BlackBerry are on solid ground once again. The Uncarrier plans to launch the BlackBerry Classic later this month; online sales begin May 13th, and it'll be in "participating" T-Mobile stores as of May 15th. The Classic will be available for $0 down and 24 monthly payments of $18.33, or it can be purchased at a full retail price of $439.92.
The renewed partnership between T-Mobile and BlackBerry repairs an awkward spat that began when T-Mobile sent out a promotional email (with discount coupon) that urged BlackBerry customers to upgrade to an iPhone, essentially incentivizing them to leave the platform. CEO John Chen called the gesture an "inappropriate and ill-conceived marketing promotion." T-Mobile eventually tried to make nice by offering BlackBerry's users a $250 trade-in promotion that made jumping to the Z10 or Q10 easier. But at the same time, the company also offered a $200 trade-in promo that enabled BlackBerry customers to upgrade to any smartphone. And apparently, 94 percent of those people chose to go with a non-BlackBerry device.
In April of last year, BlackBerry publicly announced it wouldn't be renewing its licensing agreement with T-Mobile, which effectively meant the Uncarrier would no longer be able to stock its products. "Regretfully, at this time, our strategies are not complementary and we must act in the best interest of our BlackBerry customers," Chen said at the time. Today, he's singing a very different tune. "Together with T-Mobile, we hope to deliver highly differentiated solutions that appeal to our mutual users: the power professionals who depend on their smartphones to get things done and make things happen," Chen said in today's press release.
Hear that? BlackBerry still believes we're living in a world where Android, iOS, and Windows Phone can't really help you "get things done" or "make things happen." But at least the company's most loyal T-Mobile customers will soon be able to buy the Classic and its physical keyboard.