In this “greener pastures” article, I take a look at one of the old guard mobile Operating Systems, Blackberry. There is a current Blackberry craze

The Grass always looks Greener on the Other Side – a look at Blackberry

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In this “greener pastures” article, I take a look at one of the old guard mobile Operating Systems, Blackberry. There is a current Blackberry craze around here, but many users, predictably, are not thinking through their needs before getting one.

Note that I have already detailed the strengths of Blackberry OS in my earlier article, What is so special about Blackberry, so if you want info on that, you know where to look.

But a Blackberry device may not be what you need, if only you take time to look at your needs. I will narrate one particular scenario that illustrates when not to buy a Blackberry.

rim blackberry bold smartphone

A family friend of ours was given a BlackBerry Bold as a gift recently. Of course, we are all excited about gifts! The catch was, she is self-employed had a maximum monthly budget of N5,000 for internet access – both on-phone and for tethering.

Having a Blackberry meant that she cannot keep to that budget. A monthly Blackberry subscription costs her N4,700, and BB subscriptions on networks here do not cover tethering to a PC. Users are billed outside of their subscriptions. And usually, that billing is based on data usage i.e. per Kb.

In the first week alone, she had spent over N3,000 on extra airtime for tethering. Your guess is a s good as mine how high her monthly internet spending would end up. I can imagine how much she would need to load to download a 44MB or 200Mb file.

A Blackberry device and subscription is good for you already have separate internet subscriptions at home and/or at the office. If you are on a budget, using a Blackberry device should not be in your radar.

Again, does this make the Blackberry OS or a Blackberry device useless? No. Just don’t ignore facts when spending your hard-earned money. Running costs are usually more significant than acquisition costs, and if cash flow is an issue to you, some objectivity will help you in making a decision about what smartphone to get.

The grass is not necesarilly greener on the other side.


  1. Alot of my friends always say that with all my Tech Desires, I dont have a BB and I say to them that the only difference a BB can give me is the BB messenger and I see no reason why I should pay almost N5k for that.

  2. Truth be said. This article is timely. I would prefer using a Symbian for instance with Seven email pushing instead of a Blackberry, which is over-rated with an almost out-dated UI. The Blacberry OS 6.0 is out quite alright but how many blackberries out there operates that? Only the Blackberry Torch!

  3. I truly believe the Blackberry craze here in Nigeria is similar to the iPhone craze in other some other world regions.

    My requirements at the moment don’t include constant, uninterrupted access to email, and other social networking updates. I dont need to hear a beep and rush to a BB thinking it’s an important email, and it turns out to be a silly facebook/twitter notification or a spam mail.

    Though I browse and download a lot more than the average user, I was very sceptical about the “unlimited browsing/data” mentioned by the initial blackberry offers. As it is, i browse a lot with my Always Micro, and always have a substantial amount remaining near month’s end.

    If in the future, my career/job requires constant email access, then I may consider BB. Or go the route of Emoze & Seven.

  4. Been using my BB via Zain for about 2months now and when connected to PC, I’m not charged out of BIS…native browser on BB is kinda wack and inability to install 3rd-party apps on SD cards is a downside. But all round, its working for me!

  5. It will be really nice to know the GSM providers’ that does not charge out of BIS when you share to PC.

  6. @Bosun99uk, according to veritas09, Zain is one such network.

    If the data compression rate on the blackberry is comparable to that obtainable via using Opera Mini, it may be worthwhile to get the CHEAPEST blackberry – specifically for tethering on a network that does not bill separately for tethering!

  7. @Bosun: the compression rate suprasses that of opera servers…e.g the 1GB inclusive data Zain/Airtel offers will almost equate 5GB on another handheld device. Heard GLO offers 1.5GB inclusive data which is kinda massive. Also heard (unconfirmed as of now) that the Y’ello network offers 50MB…this could explain why they charge outta bundle as a colleague did notice last month especially when streaming on his device.

  8. @veritas09
    I really don’t know why you mentioned Opera but that brings me to something else.

    Data compression on opera mini helps you and I as subscribers to reduce cost of internet.
    Data compression on BlackBerry helps providers to reduce cost of internet.

  9. @Bosun: On a lighter note, I do prefer opera mini to the BB native browser which means I’m helping both sides…lol. Seriously though, you do have a valid points as carriers are at an advantage with respect to data when there is a good number of BB users on their network.
    One other observation is that a BB device can transmit data without a BIS subscription. Except that you’ll be charged PAYG (as the case with Zain, while I was able to utilize a data bundle plan with MTN). Downside to this that one will be unable to use the BB apps such as BBMessenger, emails as they are tied to BIS. Limited 3rd party apps such as opera mini (on Zain) and gmail app did work though…

  10. @veritas09

    You are very correct.

    And It will be nice if some wiz kids can make using the BB apps on data bundle possible.

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