Customer complaints prompt Rogers to carry new BlackBerry model

TORONTO — The Canadian Press

The BlackBerry Z30 is shown in a handout photo. The smartphone maker says Rogers Communications has decided not to stock the new Z30, a touch-screen model similar in size to a Samsung Galaxy 4, when it's released on Oct. 15.

Rogers Communications says loyal BlackBerry smartphone users have spoken.

The telecom giant said Wednesday it has reversed its decision not to sell the upcoming BlackBerry Z30 smartphone due to a strong response from its customers – particularly on social media.

Rogers told The Canadian Press that it now plans to carry the phone on its website, as well as through its national reservation system and directly to business customers.

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“We have a longstanding partnership with BlackBerry and continue to be big supporters of the company and their products,” Rogers spokeswoman Terrie Tweddle said in a statement.

The move comes after Rogers faced a backlash on message boards and Twitter last week from customers.

Some users accused the telecom provider of abandoning a fellow Canadian company while it was struggling to turn around its operations. Others made a point of saying they would cancel their Rogers services if the company didn’t change its mind.

The controversy set off a flurry of activity from some of Rogers’ competitors, including Telus, which tweeted at some disgruntled Rogers customers to assure them another carrier was waiting in the wings if they decided to switch providers.

BlackBerry has said the BlackBerry Z30 will be stocked by other Canadian carriers like Bell and Telus, as well as retailers like Best Buy and Future Shop, starting Oct. 15.

Rogers says the device is going through a certification process and will be available later this month.

Prices will be set by each of the retailers.

The BlackBerry Z30 comes with a five-inch screen, improved battery life and a faster processor than the models released earlier this year. It’s larger than most smartphones, but smaller than the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, which the company recently stopped producing after two years.

The new Z30 was launched in Malaysia in September with little fanfare, shortly before BlackBerry announced it would lose nearly $1-billion in the second quarter as it wrote down the value of unsold smartphones and prepared to cut about 4,500 jobs, or 40 per cent of its global workforce.

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