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RIM Lowers New-Subscriber Forecast By 8%

The company said it based the original prediction on having the new BlackBerry 8700 devices and the 7130 series widely available in the retail channel in early November, but now the new wares won't be in stores until December.
Research In Motion, citing delays in releasing versions of the BlackBerry that run on 3G networks, Wednesday lowered its forecast of the number of new subscribers it expects for the third quarter of this year.

Specifically, RIM had previously forecast between 680,000 and 710,000 new subscribers for the third quarter but lowered that forecast by eight percent on Wednesday. It said it based the older forecast on the expectation that the BlackBerry 8700 devices for EGDE networks and the 7130 series for EV-DO networks would be widely available in the retail channel in early November.

However, delays in releasing the devices mean they won't be widely available in the retail channel until early December, the company said in a statement. It claimed many customers delayed purchases in the third quarter, waiting for the new devices.

The company said it also was lowering its estimate of new subscribers for the fourth quarter by three percent.

"While the delay in launch dates for these two highly anticipated products caused a timing shift in expected subscriber additions, the products are becoming available now and will help drive significant growth in the coming quarters," Jim Balsillie, RIM's chairman and Co-CEO, said in a statement. "We further entrenched our technology leadership and channel strength in the current quarter and we have grown our subscriber base by over 17 percent to pass the 4 million subscribers milestone. We intend to remain focused on executing our business plans as we aim to finish our fiscal year by roughly doubling the BlackBerry subscriber base of the previous year."

RIM did not say in its statement whether it believes that pending patent action against it by NTP also retarded subscriber growth.

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