BlackBerry Z10 arrives late in the UAE

BBM Voice and Video services not available in latest BlackBerry smartphone

Meenal Mahajan with her new BlackBerry Z10
Image Credit: Arshad Ali/Gulf News
Meenal Mahajan, a banker at Bank Sarasin Alpen in Qatar, with her new BlackBerry Z10 from Jumbo Electronics at Dubai Mall.
03 Gulf News

Dubai: BlackBerry’s latest smartphone, the Z10, was finally launched in the UAE on Sunday night after a day of “will-it-or-won’t-it” speculation.

The Z10, which was unveiled in a global launch on Jan. 30 in Dubai, was supposed to be available for sale early on Sunday. It didn’t arrive as promised, with retailers across the UAE saying they had not received the shipments they were expecting.

Retailers said they were never given an explanation why, but most speculated that the devices’ BBM Voice, which allows voice and video calls over the internet, was to blame.

On Sunday afternoon, BlackBerry announced that the phone would still go onsale, but it was confirmed that the BBM Voice would not be available when the device was launched.

“We are currently in talks with BlackBerry on launch of BBM Voice and Video services,” Farid Faraidooni, chief commercial officer of du, said in an emailed statement. “We shall soon commence testing phase to assure the right consumer experience. We remain committed towards launching new and innovative services that add value to customers in the UAE marketplace.”

Etisalat could not be reached for comment.

The first customer to buy the device from Dubai Mall was a banker from Qatar at 9:10PM at Jumbo’s outlet.

“I was fascinated by the Z10 and I had seen the demo on television,” said Meenal Mahajan, who works at Bank Sarasin Alpen in Qatar. “I am happy to know that I am the first customer to get hold of the new device.”

“I am on a visit to Dubai and I was not all hoping to get one. I am a fan of BlackBerry,” she said.

Jacky’s Electronics also announced that it has received it shipment of phones and were offering them for sale.

Salesmen have been phoning all the pre-booked customers to come and collect their devices.

“I don’t think many will come at this time and I can see a big rush at all the retailers tomorrow [ Monday],” a salesman said.


  • Yacoub

    Feb 11, 2013 3:03

    Ok, so I pre-ordered the phone online from etisalat on the January 30, and now people have got the phone before me. What was the point of pre-ordering?

  • nhel

    Feb 11, 2013 12:11

    I admit that the BlackBerry phones available on the market right now have poor cameras but based on some reviews, the quality of the Z10's is decent, if not comparable to iPhone 5 & Galaxy S3's cameras. Also, I think, they made the Z10 with the general consumer in mind and not just for business. The BlackBerry Balance feature of the phone should suffice for the restricted area part of your argument.

  • Mubasher Hussain

    Feb 11, 2013 11:02

    Can we get BlackBerry without camera, 2 reasons, 1, picture quality of black Berry is very bad, so Camera is useless, 2nd thing most peoples are working in Restricted area where mobile with camera is not allowed, I am sure if BlackBerry came in Market without camera it will be most requested of the Requirement of BlackBerry.