Just before heading into my marketing exam this evening, I was checking Crackberry and HowardForums for the usual selection of news. What I found was actually an interesting exercise in branding, using the time-honoured technique of showing us an attractive girl in underwear.
Virgin Mobile Canada apparently has launched the BlackBerry Pearl 8130 on their service, which I believe is a first for a Canadian MVNO; generally only the non-virtual carriers in North America have established relationships with RIM for devices and services. In Canada, Virgin is CDMA and runs off the Bell infrastructure – so if you get decent Bell coverage in your area, service will be about the same quality.
The thing that all the fanboys on HoFo seem to be noticing is the attractive female used in the promotional video. I believe one poster later in the thread described the model as ‘hott’, which leads me to believe he drooled on his keyboard during the video and it now duplicates keystrokes.
The primary focus of the thread and the Crackberry article (the hawt girl, in case you haven’t followed) is followed closely by an interestingly decent offer. A three year contract gets you a $0 device and a 8GB microSD card; plans start at $25 for voice and $30 for unlimited email/Web/IM, with explicit support for Windows Live Messenger and Facebook integration. Virgin also doesn’t charge for system access fees or incoming text messages at present, so consider that a $6.95 discount per month.
(There are also several other data packages available, including the traditional $15 unlimited email/BlackBerry Messenger plan. Another interesting plan seems to be the $45 email, web, text messaging, IM, voicemail and call display addon for the people who can’t get enough SMS action.)
What’s even more interesting about this $30 plan? BES access
appears to be is enabled. That’s right; the BlackBerry informational page notes that unlimited access to enterprise email is included:
Our BlackBerry plans give you unlimited access to enterprise email if you:
- Use the BlackBerry® Enterprise Server in your organization
- Have a client access license
- Secure access to corporate email
- Corporate data access
- Wireless email and calendar synchronization
- Remote address lookup
I’ve written into the Virgin support team to confirm that BES is activated on their standard packages. I’ve also asked if the $15 plan includes BES support as well, and
will update this post with my findings the answer is yes, as confirmed by Chris below. If Since BES support is present, this would makes Virgin’s offering the only unlimited package in Canada with enterprise support. While this news isn’t quite the shakeup of a new wireless entrant, Virgin now would be my top pick for a CDMA provider over Telus or Bell.
Edit: Cleaned up some grammar.
Edit 2: Updated with confirmation of BES inclusion.