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T-Mobile Stores Drop BlackBerry

News comes as questions rise about Fairfax's ability to finance its planned purchase of BlackBerry.
T-Mobile is dropping BlackBerry. The company said this week that it won't stock BlackBerry smartphones in its U.S. stores any more. T-Mobile will still sell BlackBerrys, but only through its website. David Carey, executive VP for corporate services, said, "Keeping stock in the retail distribution system was inefficient" due to weak demand for the handsets.

In other words, no one is buying BlackBerry smartphones in T-Mobile stores, and the company wants to reclaim the wasted inventory space at its retail locations. Speaking to Reuters, Carey also noted that most BlackBerry sales go to business customers, which don't make their purchasing decisions in stores. Carey didn't say when the company will cease stocking the devices. It will likely sell what remaining in-store inventory it has and then simply not replenish that stock.

T-Mobile may be bailing on BlackBerry, but the nation's two largest carriers are not. Both AT&T and Verizon Wireless confirmed to AllThingsD that they will continue to offer BlackBerry smartphones to their customers. "We're going to support our customers and give them options on how to buy from us," said a Verizon spokesperson. Verizon recently voiced support for the new BlackBerry Z30 phablet, announced last week.

Sprint hasn't said one way or the other if it will continue to support BlackBerry. The company launched the Q10 smartphone only last month.

[ Can BlackBerry catch a break? See BlackBerry Messenger For Android, iOS Stalled. ]

T-Mobile's decision regarding BlackBerry handsets closely follows news from BlackBerry that it will no longer pursue the consumer market and will instead focus on enterprise customers. The company is staring at a massive $1 billion charge on its second fiscal quarter report thanks to unsold Z10 inventory. BlackBerry is expected to report a loss of between $950 and $995 million for the quarter. The company was scheduled to discuss its quarterly results Friday, but cancelled its analyst call.

Further, BlackBerry has signed a letter of intent with Fairfax Financial Holdings. Fairfax has offered $4.7 billion to take the ailing smartphone maker private. Fairfax is leading a consortium of investors, but has not said who the other investors are.

Prem Watsa, Fairfax's CEO, is confident the company can raise the funds to make the purchase. "We wouldn't put our name to such a high-profile deal if we didn't feel confident that at the end of the day that our due diligence would be fine and we'd be able to finance it," said Watsa to Reuters.