Maker of BlackBerry, Research In Motion (RIM). announced on Wednesday it will be launching its wireless email service in China by the middle of the year with China Mobile cellular carrier.
China represents a huge revenue stream for RIM. Besides the fact it is the world's largest telecommunications market, Hong Kong-based China Mobile carrier is the world's number one cellular carrier in terms of subscribers and holds two-thirds of the market in the country.
"Our talks with China Mobile are going very well. We are working very closely with them and a deal is expected very soon, probably by the middle of this year," Asia Pacific Vice President Norm Lo told Reuters in an interview.
Lo also said RIM would launch a BlackBerry device that uses third-generation (3G) mobile technology in the second half of this year, possibly in the July-September quarter.
The Ontario, Canada-based company expects to launch its BlackBerry wireless email service with another 100 telecoms providers globally this year, including over 10 carriers in the Asia Pacific region, Lo said, but refused to give any further details.
RIM already offers the BlackBerry service with over 160 carriers in more than 60 countries worldwide. In Asia only, it has signed agreements with 21 telecoms providers in 11 markets.
Last month, the company agreed to pay U.S.-based patent holding company NTP $612.5 million to settle a four-year legal battle which had threatened to shut down the BlackBerry service in the U.S.