Boost Mobile has announced plans to offer a new BlackBerry phone along with a new companion plan designed for those that mainly want access to RIM’s BlackBerry Messaging platform but don’t necessarily want or need additional data access.
The BlackBerry Curve 9310 will be released next month on July 10th with the companion BBM Unlimited plan, which includes access to unlimited messaging over SMS/MMS as well as unlimited access to BBM along with voice for $45 a month, with Shrinkage included for payments as low as $30/month. The phone will cost $99.99.
The phone is a slightly smaller version of the typical Curve and features the following specifications:
Dedicated BlackBerry Messenger key
Text and email (Yahoo!®, Gmail® and Hotmail® support)
3.2MP camera with flash
Speedy Web browsing
BlackBerry® 7.1 OS
Access to thousands of apps and games on BlackBerry App World™ (via Wi-Fi)
Access to Facebook®, MySpace™, Twitter®, YouTube® and more
Stereo Bluetooth® support
Wi-Fi and GPS enabled
Built-in FM radio
Up to eight hours talk time or 18 days standby; up to 70 hours of music playback with headphones
It should be noted that this is the first time that RIM is offering the BBM Unlimited service plan in the US, as it is mainly offered in international markets where prepaid service is the norm and the company offers several alternatives to carriers that wish to offer BlackBerry products and services without the need for a full license or a complete infrastructure overhaul, as is typically the case with a full BlackBerry license.
Should the offering prove popular despite RIM’s current woes, it does have the possibility of being expanded to more prepaid carriers in lieu of having to undertake the purchase of a complete license for BlackBerry service and support, which is typically more difficult for independent prepaid carriers that are unaffiliated with major carriers.
Currently, the only other prepaid carrier actively supporting and offering BlackBerry service outside of the Sprint Prepaid Group is Simple Mobile, formerly affiliated with T-Mobile and now under the auspices of America Movil/TracFone with its $60 BlackBerry service plan while other flat-rate carriers such as MetroPCS and Cricket have moved away from actively promoting and offering BlackBerry phones/service.