BlackBerry Ltd stopped making classic BlackBerry OS smartphones about three years ago. And now, beginning with Etisalat, mobile networks have begun to discontinue BlackBerry Internet Service. It was only a matter of time before it happened. We all knew the day would come. Here is the brief message of discontinuation of BIS service from Etisalat Nigeria:
Dear Customer, our BB service will no longer be available. You will continue to enjoy your current subscription till it expires. Thank you for choosing Etisalat.
The last BlackBerry OS smartphone produced was the 9720 in 2013. After that, BlackBerry OS was replaced with BlackBerry 10 OS, and now Android OS.
Classic BlackBerry smartphones ran on BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS), and Nigerian networks provided this special plan to the teeming BlackBerry subscribers of old (see Why BlackBerry is a hit in Nigeria. With the discontinuation of the older BlackBerry OS, it was only a matter of time before networks began to shut down the service.
The End of BlackBerry Internet Service Is here
Once upon a time, in 2012 to be precise, half of connected smartphones in Nigeria were BlackBerry. At the moment, all of BlackBerry OS and BlackBerry 10 OS combined in have less than 4% of the Nigeria smartphone market. And it drops with each passing day.
Here on Mobility Arena, we found out that in July 2016, traffic from BlackBerry Internet Service servers had dropped to a measly 1.5%. Years ago, BIS traffic used to make up as much as 30% of the traffic on the website, so that is a huge drop.
Bye-bye, Cheap BIS
Many of the subscribers still on BlackBerry Internet Service are there because of the cheap nature of the plans. In some cases, BIS offers unlimited data. It must be a sad day for these subscribers. But generic data plans are now more affordable than ever before. And a few 4G networks are toying with generic unlimited internet service. So, it isn’t all gloom and doom.
What next as networks discontinue BlackBerry Internet Service?
BlackBerry Internet Service has clearly become an unprofitable service for networks to maintain. That means they will all shut it down. Etisalat has taken the lead. Others will follow.
Last Men Standing
Mrs. Mo is one of the last men standing. She loves her BlackBerry and has held on to it till now despite all my attempts to wean her off it. She is a real hero, along with other die-hard BlackBerry fans like her. But even she will have to drop that device soon and embrace Android or iOS.
Are there any viable alternatives out there? Don’t say Tizen, Sailfish, or Windows, please.