The Kingdom’s No 3 mobile-phone service says it will follow up its April release of 2nd-generation BlackBerries with the launch of the Bold handset, which the company will officially unveil Thursday
2G blackberries have been a surprising success for us.... We've created a niche.
HELLO, Cambodia's No 3 mobile-phone operator by users, said Monday it planned to launch Cambodia's first 3G BlackBerry handsets this month.
Gary Foo, brand manager of the company, which is owned by Kuala Lumpur-based Axiata, said it would officially launch BlackBerry's Bold handset Thursday night at Raffles Hotel Le Royal.
The 3G handset would go on sale "very shortly after that", Foo said.
Hello's Chief Executive Officer Simon Perkins said earlier that the product - produced by Canada's Research in Motion (RIM) - would be launched before the end of July.
Foo added that prices would be announced at a later date.
"[They're] not finalised yet at this moment.... We're still crunching the numbers," he said.
Hello became the first mobile provider in Cambodia to offer the Blackberry when it launched RIM's 2G handsets Pearl 8120 and Curve 8320 at the end of April.
The 2G BlackBerries "have been a surprising success for us - we didn't know the corporate market was that big", Perkins said. "We've created a niche."
Figures on how many BlackBerry handsets Hello has sold or how many Bold units would be shipped to Cambodia were not immediately available, although Perkins said the RIM 3G handset was in short supply due to its global popularity.
The domestic launch of RIM's Bold handset follows the release of the model in a number of global markets, including Australia in August and Thailand in December.
RIM remained the No 1 global supplier of smartphones in the first quarter with 19.9 percent of the market, Bloomberg reported, although Apple Inc closed the gap, with its iPhone doubling market share to 10.8 percent.
Mobitel, the Kingdom's leading mobile-phone service provider with 55-percent market share, said Monday that it also planned to launch BlackBerries this year.
Mark Hanna, chief financial officer of Royal Group, which owns a 38.4 percent share in Mobitel, said 3G Blackberries would be launched in the fourth quarter.