Avia Collinder, Business Writer
Research in Motion, the makers of BlackBerry, is reporting a resounding rise in its share of the Caribbean smartphone market to a dominant 72.3 per cent four years into its regional debut of the device.
Across the broader Latin American landscape, BlackBerry has market share of 53.1 per cent in the smartphone arena.
RIM announced its market position but not the level of growth seen in 2010. Indeed,market watchers are predicting sales decline for BlackBerry as interest climbs in android phones and other competing products.
But Rafael Luna Grajeda, RIM's corporate communications manager for Latin America, said Monday that BlackBerry remains the most popular smartphone in the Caribbean, based on an International Data Corporation (IDC) Mobile Phone Tracker second-quarter 2010 market-share report.
IDC is a global provider of market intelligence.
Inside the Caribbean, BlackBerry is sold by major players, including LIME, Digicel, and Claro.
Jason Corrigan, commercial director for Digicel Jamaica, said 2010 "was a fantastic year for Digicel and RIM".
Corrigan said Digicel's BlackBerry user base "continues to grow year on year".
According to Grajeda, there are no roadblocks to continued sales growth.
"We have no problems at all. We are growing steadily and at least since four years ago, all our smartphones introduced to every market have features that serve to the personal use - music,play, entertainment, etc - as much as the corporate use - security, IT policies, services and software, etc," he said.
Jim Balsillie, co-CEO at RIM, told Sunday Business in written answer to questions posed, "We are off to a great start in fiscal 2011 and expect strong shipments, revenue, subscriber and earnings growth in Q1 ... We managed to significantly expand our international market share while also maintaining our long-standing leadership in North America, where BlackBerry continues to be the top-selling smartphone brand," he said.
RIM is a US$15-billion company by revenue, and has a customer base of 41 million. Grajeda declined comment on Jamaica and the Caribbean's portion of sales.
The company is banking, Grajeda said, on its targeted marketing efforts for growth.
"We have a marketing team dedicated to working next to the mobile operators in the region to produce the BlackBerry service plans suited for each country, as well as the most adequate marketing campaigns," he said.