Etisalat unveiled its replacement packages to appease existing BlackBerry customers today in light of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority' suspension of the service from October 11. The replacement packages on offer, for those who subscribed to the BlackBerry services on or before 31 July, consist of bundled SMS, MMS, data usage, along with free voice calls of up to 550 minutes a month or an alternative smartphone. "The alternative we're offering is up to ten times in value or normal rental changes, though some more, some less," said Khalifa al Shamsi, the senior vice president of marketing. The 12 replacement phones available include Apple's iPhone, and are conditional on customers signing a 12-month contract. If the customer chooses to get a new smartphone, they will be allowed to keep their BlackBerry. "These packages have been developed with the BlackBerry customer in mind," said Ahmed bin Ali, the group senior vice president of corporate communication. "We have looked at which services they use most often, and have replaced them with comparable services from our wide portfolio." Only customers who choose to take the Unlimited Global package will be offered a free Apple iPhone. Those who sign up for a new lesser package but want an iPhone will be able to pay the difference in cost to upgrade, which could be between Dh500-1450. The option will include the iPhone 4 once it becomes available in September. The mobile provider will offer free monthly minutes to customers without a yearly commitment to users who choose not to take a new smartphone. "We aimed that the changes caused by the BlackBerry suspension won't affect Etisalat's profit," said Mr al Shamsi. Further details of the offer are available at www.etisalat.ae/blackberry/alternative.html Du has yet to announce details of its alternative packages for BlackBerry customers.
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