Feature: Trying to Understand Rogers and Fido BlackBerry Pricing

Feature: Trying to Understand Rogers and Fido BlackBerry Pricing


As I was browsing my way through the newspaper over the weekend, I noticed an advertisement from Rogers Wireless for the relatively new BlackBerry Curve 8900. This wouldn’t normally catch my eye, since I already knew the smartphone had already launched about a month ago, but I did take note of the pricing scheme that they had for this QWERTY-equipped messaging machine.

The ad also featured the older Curve and the Pearl Flip, but those are of secondary concern. The reason why the print ad caught my eye was that it showed Rogers selling the Curve 8900 (also known as the Javelin) for $199.99 with a three-year contract. I suppose this pricing is in line with how much a new Curve would normally cost with a qualifying service agreement, but it is terribly odd when you place it next to the pricing for the BlackBerry Bold.

If you go over to the official Rogers Wireless website, you’ll see that the Canadian GSM provider is shipping the BlackBerry Bold around for $249.98 with a three-year contract. That’s a $50 premium over the 8900 and everything sounds hunky-doory in the land of mobile email, right?

Well, it doesn’t take much shopping around to find random promotions, like those that have been offered for the last couple of my weeks. A good friend of mine happened to pick up the Bold over the holidays for under $100 with the same three-year contract. In this way, he was able to purchase a more powerful and robust handset for half the price.

The BlackBerry Curve 8900 is, in many ways, a “light” version of the Bold. It lacks 3G, its camera isn’t as good, and it lacks the leather back. It’s supposed to be the cheaper, smaller version of the Bold. Why, then, could it possibly be tagged at double the price of the Bold under any circumstances whatsoever.

Taking this discussion over to the dog house, we hear that Fido is getting BlackBerry within the next couple of months. The BlackBerry training has already commenced for Fido representatives, both from the sales and technical support side of things. If Fido is being marketed as a budget brand, what is going to be the pricing strategy for the BlackBerry side of things? They’re maxing out at two-year contracts at the dog house, so will the Berry have to be sold for more?

I think most people would agree that Fido needs to get BlackBerry again so the move would be a good one, but how would they go about doing it? The current rumor has it that Fido will be largely be receiving the discontinued and leftover stock from Rogers, meaning that the only BlackBerry devices that will be sold by the pooch will be things like the Pearl 8100.

In this way, it may be unlikely that the Javelin (or especially the Bold) would ever make its way over to Fido… that is, until RIM releases something more exciting like a touchscreen Bold or a slider Storm. I hope Fido does get the Javelin (Curve 8900) though, because it would be a great device for people who are new to ‘Berry and want some QWERTY action.

In terms of data plans, my hope is that Fido will get similar Value Packs as those being offered to Rogers customers, but we’ll have to wait for the official Berry launch with the dog to find out for certain.