FCC Approval For AT&T Inc. (T) version of BlackBerry Ltd’s Passport
AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) has received FCC approval for the custom version rounded version of the BlackBerry Passport device that will be an AT&T exclusive. Submission to the regulator for the approval of the redesigned BlackBerry Passport was made on January 7. The submission to FCC came after BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY)(TSE:BB) had disclosed at the 2015 CES in Las Vegas that the company was developing a custom Passport smartphone for the U.S. wireless giant AT&T.
It is currently unclear when BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) will start shipping the custom Passport devices to AT&T, but that is expected to happen soon following the clearance by the regulator.
The redesigned Passport will feature rounded edges. AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) requested BlackBerry to make that adjustment for its customers. The round-edge Passport will be exclusive for AT&T subscribers. While announcing the request from AT&T about the redesigned Passport device, BlackBerry also sought to clear the air, saying that the customer did not require anything more modification beyond the rounded-edge.
A changing BlackBerry
However, the development highlighted the continuing influence of major carriers on smartphone manufacturers. Additionally, the agreement between the two companies revealed the extent that BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) is willing to go to sell its handsets.
BlackBerry currently has its major business focus on software and services, mostly targeting enterprises and governments. The company offers secure mobile communication, which is suitable for moving of confidential information. However, the company wants to maintain a hold in the smartphone market to help drive revenue in other segments.
Passport and Classic pricing
AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) is expected to offer the Passport smartphone for $200 with a contract of two years. Customers will also be able to catch the device for $21.67” under the so-called “Next 24” plan. Without contract, the Passport costs $650.
AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) will also carry BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY)’s other new smartphone known as Classic, which is expected to go for $50 under a two-year contract. The device goes for $420 without any contract.
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