blackberry refuses bhutan

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BlackBerry users in Bhutan will have to wait longer to activate and use all features in the phone, as the company has turned down proposals from the two local providers to open up service centers in the country.

The hi-tech phone has reasoned the small and unviable market in Bhutan as an excuse for declining the proposal.

The Bhutan Telecom had approached BlackBerry to get the authentication server in a meeting held in Barcelona, Spain, earlier this year to which they received a straight ‘No’. The Tashi InfoComm had also written to the company to which they received a similar response.

According to the general manager of B-Mobile Pushpa Mani Pradhan, all BlackBerry features can be used only if the company launches in Bhutan.

“We have customers using BlackBerry handsets and many features of the hi-tech phone does work here but the e-mail facility is not accessible,” he said.

The Managing Director of Bhutan Telecom, Thinley Dorji said, following complaints from BlackBerry users in the country on activation of some of the features in the phone, the local service provider had approached the company. Meanwhile, Tashi InfoComm had also written to the president of Researching Motion (RIM) some two years earlier about opening a service centre in the country.

“They were unwilling and Bhutan is not a part of their business policy,” said Tashi Tshering, the executive director of Tashi InfoComm.  He added that ‘they’ might be interested in the future.

With less than a hundred BlackBerry customers in the country and without the presence of the BlackBerry server, users said they use the phone just to attend calls. While some are happy with the utility, some are not.

“BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) is the main feature of the phone that cannot be used in Bhutan,” said Yiwang, a private sector employee.

BBM is a facility in the phone which does not charge for messages sent between BlackBerry phones.

Tenzin, a businessman who frequents Thailand and India said that he uses the phone fully only when he is not in the country.

“The moment I am home, I feel like I am handicapped,” he said. He added that he was aware that BlackBerry would not come to Bhutan any time soon as there were very less users.

“The company would not be interested to come as not many Bhutanese use BlackBerry and I have switched to Apple iPhone,” he said.