Research In Motion Ltd. (RIMM:US) today unveiled the first BlackBerrys it plans to sell in Finland, home of larger rival Nokia Oyj (NOK1V) and the last Nordic market in which it was absent.
RIM, based in Waterloo, Ontario, will initially work with Cubio Oy, a local mobile-virtual-network operator, and plans to expand to other channels, Paul Lucier, the company’s managing director for Northern Europe and Russia, said in a telephone interview.
Cubio, based in Helsinki, will offer a range of RIM devices, including the Torch 9860, the Bold 9900 and Bold 9790 in early April, RIM said in a statement.
RIM already sells its devices in Denmark, Norway and Sweden and has acquired a pair of technology companies in the latter nation, as it seeks to expand in Europe amid declining sales in the U.S., its biggest market. BlackBerry shipments in Western Europe rose 15 percent in 2011 from a year earlier, while falling 49 percent in the U.S. over the same period.
“We’ve done a lot of work” doing deals across the region and “now we’re finally getting all the launches we wanted to get and the channels up and running in all the Nordic countries,” Lucier said in the interview.
RIM bought Stockholm-based JayCut, an online-video company last year and Malmoe, Sweden-based TAT in 2010, to help design the user interface for the forthcoming Blackberry 10 phones, Lucier said. He declined to comment on whether the company might invest in Finland, citing a quiet period ahead of results due to be released March 29.
Business users, once a market dominated by BlackBerry, will be RIM’s first target audience in Finland followed by broader consumers, Lucier said.
RIM shipped 10 million BlackBerry devices in the U.S. last year, down from 19.7 million in 2010. Sales in Western Europe rose to 13.1 million from 11.4 million over the same period, according to IDC.
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