A live walking Blackberry by Telefonica's Movistar
There are GSM mobile providers in Argentina: CTI, part of the telecomms empire owned by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim of Telmex fame, Movistar, part of Spain's Telefonica behemoth, and Personal, owned by Telecom Argentina, which is partly owned by Italy's infamous Telecom Italia of wire-tapping scandals fame. The other mobile provider is Nextel, owned by US giant Sprint, but Nextel devices use the proprietary iDEN system from Motorola.
CTI Movil also promoting the Blackberry successfully in its own dedicated booth
Both Telecom Argentina and Telefonica are the two incumbents which still hold a monopoly on the fixed line local loop because of the failure of each government since the Y2000 to implement the promised Local-Loop-Unbundling (LLU) process, and as a result residential customers must pay through the nose due to the lack of competition. But on the mobile space, both Telecom and Telefonica are quite aggressive and always trying to differentiate from one another, except when the companies end up imitating every move of its competitors.
"Hey, I'm suffocating in here!"
Going back to the point: this is where the Blackberry enters the picture. All three GSM mobile providers, CTI, Movistar and Personal offer the Blackberry PDAs coupled with each carrier's business service plans. But at the show, Telefonica's Movistar had the most eye-catching promotion for the Blackberry: a walking, human-sized -and human-filled- blackberry walking the show floor. I pity the poor person inside... the costume had no eyes and had to be walk around like a blind person with the assistance of a female company representative.
This Blackberry is too big for my taste
Palm Treos locked behind glass
CTI also had a booth section devoted entirely to the blackberry including live, working units that the salesmen used to demo the Blackberry device and services. Personal, however, didn't have any outstanding Blackberry promotion that I could see, other than leaflets mentioning it. Still, with the "walking Blackberry" by Movistar, and CTI's Blackberry booth, it seems to be that interest in the Blackberry(s) and the local user base will grow by leaps and bounds in the coming months. In contrast, the only Treos on display that I could see were at a small Treo distributor, and languished, locked behind glass while the Blackberry roamed the show floor drawing the attention of visitors. Hey, Palm Inc., how about learning something from Blackberry's walk all the way to the bank?.µ
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