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China Mobile, RIM to boost BlackBerry use in China

RESEARCH In Motion and Chinese telecoms provider China Mobile will expand BlackBerry services to smaller companies and individual users, allowing RIM to boost use of the "smartphones" in the potentially huge market.

The greater cooperation announced by China Mobile and RIM today in Beijing includes plans to support China's indigenous TD-SCDMA and TD-LTE technologies for BlackBerry devices used in China, the companies said in a statement.

China Mobile, the world's biggest phone carrier by subscribers, has provided BlackBerry services in China since 2006, but use of the devices was limited mainly to employees of a few major corporations. The companies intend to expand that to smaller companies and "professional consumers," it said.

The decision comes amid fast-expanding use of iPhones and other smartphones in China - the world's largest cell phone market with more than 650 million users.

RIM said Monday that it also plans to use the national distribution network of Digital China, a company with shares traded in Hong Kong, to extend its reach inside the Chinese mainland.

"Digital China's extensive knowledge and market presence will further expand the opportunity for RIM in China," said Jim Balsillie, Co-CEO of RIM, which is based in Waterloo, Ontario.

Early this year, China assigned third-generation mobile phone licenses to its three main carriers, with China Mobile awarded the long-awaited Chinese-developed standard, TD-SCDMA.

The 3G technology supports Web surfing, wireless video and other services previously unavailable to most users. TD-LTE is China's proposed "fourth generation" technology standard.


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