BlackBerry Priv is really struggling says high-level AT&T executive

According to a high-level AT&T executive, who asked not to be named, the first Android smartphone by BlackBerry is “really struggling” with a disappointing rate of return.

“The BlackBerry Priv is really struggling,”. “We’ve seen more returns than we would like.”

What is concerning here is the fact that AT&T has stood by BlackBerry for years and was also the first US carrier to sell the Priv, followed by Verizon and T-Mobile.

Wireless carriers are seldom publicly critical of their handset partners and the fact that a carrier executive would say this publicly cannot bode well for BlackBerry.

There is no doubt that the switch to Android devices for BlackBerry is a gamble.  The early indicators were not good back in April when the company reported selling a mere 600,000 phones in the fiscal fourth quarter, well below expectations of 850,000 and the 700,000 it sold in the preceding quarter. However, the Priv was not as widely available back in April.

BlackBerry refused to break down the numbers but the fact that 600,000 phones included not only Priv sales but BlackBerry 10 and BlackBerry OS sales as well gave a clear indication that Priv sales were not going as planned.

AT&T offered a more detailed account of why the Priv has disappointed. BlackBerry and the carrier expected to see demand for an Android phone with a physical keyboard. Instead, most of the buyers were BlackBerry loyalists, the executive said. Those faithful, however, struggled with the transition to Android, leading to a higher rate of return.

BlackBerry is slated to next post quarterly result on or around  23rd June 2016 and all eyes will once again be on smartphone sales.

A spokesman for BlackBerry wasn’t available for comment.


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