China Telecom has said it will start selling the touch-screen BlackBerry Storm this month, as it looks to capture part of the booming demand for smartphones in the world's largest mobile market.
China Telecom, one of the country's big three with China Mobile and China Unicom, will first offer the Storm made by Canada's Research in Motion (RIM) to corporate users in 16 provinces, it said in a statement.
The company's government and business subscribers will be able to use Blackberry's 3G service later this month to send emails, short messages, and access their own Intranet, the statement said, without giving a date.
"Our users will enjoy the popular and efficient business communication and application tool by subscribing to our special packages," it said.
No details of the BlackBerry Storm prices or package deals were disclosed.
RIM currently offers the BlackBerry to big businesses through China Mobile, the country's biggest mobile operator which had 539 million users as of the end of March.
It said late last year it planned to expand its BlackBerry service in China to include consumers and small businesses despite fierce competition in the world's biggest mobile market, with more than 776 million users.
Apple teamed up with Unicom to launch its iPhone in October while China Mobile in September unveiled its own third-generation OPhone, powered by the Google-backed Android operating system.
China Mobile has also said it was interested in selling the iPad, and that talks with Apple over the sale of iPhones were still ongoing.
(c) 2010 AFP