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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Hello launches first Blackberry service

Hello launches first Blackberry service

HELLO, Cambodia's third-largest mobile phone company by market share, rolled out BlackBerry handsets in Cambodia for the first time on Wednesday.

Cellcard Mobitel told the Post this month it planned to begin sales of the handsets by Canadian company Research in Motion (RIM) within a few months. But in launching sales on Wednesday, Hello became the first network to offer Blackberries in the Kingdom.

BlackBerry handsets have been available in Cambodia for some time but without offering their hallmark push email service, which requires a Blackberry email server.

"As Hello is the first and currently only operator in Cambodia offering the Blackberry solution, we are able to offer our customers a significant advantage," Hello's Chief Marketing Officer Syed Azmeer said in a press statement Wednesday.

Hello accepted presale orders on two Blackberry handsets - the Pearl 8120 and Curve 8320 - with more than three-quarters of stocks already sold out on the opening day of sales, brand manager Gary Foo said at the official launch of the product in Phnom Penh.

Hello plans to introduce 3G Blackberry handsets to Cambodia within the coming months, having established its 3G network a month ago, Foo added.

Alcatel-Lucent will offer a range of services as part of its distribution agreement with RIM, including end-to-end implementation and support services, said the press statement.

Hello, whose network is operated by Telekom Malaysia International Cambodia, holds the No 3 spot among mobile networks in the Kingdom with a 15 percent share of the market, according to private sector statistics at the end of last year. Mobitel was the leading operator with a 55 percent market share.

RIM has managed to weather the economic storm that his hit other major handset manufacturers since the financial crisis hit demand - such as Nokia, Motorola and Sony Ericsson - by expanding into new markets, including Russia this month, Bloomberg reported.

Blackberries are offered by more than 300 operators across the globe, gaining market share of global sales by competing strongly with high-end smartphones manufactured by Apple and Nokia, Bloomberg said.

RIM's stock price has increased more than 60 percent on the Nasdaq exchange this year.

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