AT&T Offers BlackBerry Users Trade-In Deal

Program encourages BlackBerry handheld users on the Mobitex network to upgrade to newer models running on AT&T Wireless' GSM/GPRS network.

AT&T Wireless on Thursday announced a program designed to encourage BlackBerry handheld users on the Mobitex network to upgrade to newer models running on AT&T Wireless GSM/GPRS (global system for mobile communications/ general packet radio service) network.

The program gives potential business customers a considerable discount on BlackBerry 6210 or 6710 devices for trading in their older devices, said officials at AT&T Wireless in Redmond, Wash.

Older models of Research in Motion Ltd.s popular BlackBerry e-mail pagers run only on the data-based Mobitex network. The 6710 and 6210 both support both voice and data, and they have international roaming capabilities. The 6710 is available now. The 6210, due in the second half of this year, includes support for wireless e-mail synchronization and integrated attachment viewing—something never before available in any of RIMs products.

AT&T Wireless has additional plans to ship a BlackBerry device with a color screen, according to Jim Balsillie, RIMs chairman and CEO, who demonstrated a prototype of a tri-band color-screen Blackberry to eWEEK last October. At that time he said AT&T Wireless would be shipping the device in 2003. This week, in a trade show keynote speech, Balsillie said that RIM will be shipping the color-screen BlackBerry to multiple carriers this summer. AT&T Wireless still declines to comment.

The trade-in program is available immediately for individuals or corporations using BlackBerry models 850, 857, 950, or 957. The credit ranges from $40 to $200 toward the purchase, or lease, of a BlackBerry 6710 or 6210 and companion service plan from AT&T Wireless.

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