BlackBerry to suffer as Three goes all out for Windows Phone

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Operator to up its in-store focus on Windows Phone and said will decide before the end of the year whether to continue to range BlackBerry devices

Three is to focus on growing the popularity of Windows Phone-run handsets this year – but the future of BlackBerry handsets looks bleak.

Speaking to Mobile News in Barcelona, Three’s portfolio manager Brendan Arndt (pictured) said it plans to increase dedicated space in store for WP devices in 2014, and with its first tablet running on the OS in the coming months. Three will offer dedicated support.

It will also create more interactive content for customers, such as video tutorials on how to set up WP devices – to encourage take up of the OS – and is also considering store-in-stores for WP vendors.

Arndt said the decision to ramp-up support for the OS was influenced by the popularity of Nokia Lumia phones in the mid and low-range.

“Windows Phone will take time to compete in the high-end as well as lower price points, but it is here to stay,” he said.

“Currently there is not a lot of space in store for Windows Phone but this year this will change, and we will stock a WP tablet, probably an eight-inch one.”

BlackBerry-Z30-web

Similar paths

The decision to focus more on Windows however could spell the end for BlackBerry – after Three admitted it may follow similar paths to that of Phones 4u and T-Mobile US in ditching the brand from its stores.

Three said it will decide by the end of the year whether to continue stocking BlackBerry devices, as it winds down its range of handsets from the manufacturer. The operator currently stocks the BlackBerry Z10, Q10 and Curve 9320. However, it decided against stocking the more recently-launched Z30 (pictured).

Arndt said: “We will know by the end of the year whether to drop BlackBerry. We are not ready to make that decision yet, as there is still demand, but it is mainly for the keyboard devices [Q10, Curve 9320] as it is the only manufacturer still making them.”

EE and O2 have recently stopped taking new stock of the BlackBerry Z10.

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