Rwanda: Blackberry Users Yet to Fully Benefit From Smart-Phone Features

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Owners of blackberry phones in the country cannot enjoy the full potential of smart phones until the handset maker, Research in Motion (RIM), awards a license to the service provider, MTN Rwanda.

Some of the features that are inaccessible to BlackBerry users in Rwanda include watching videos online, Flash players and AppWorld that gives subscribers access to several applications and downloads.

So far there are about 5,000 BlackBerry users subscribed with the local provider of BlackBerry services, MTN Rwanda.

According to MTN Rwanda, the delay to activate AppWorld is connected to the lack of an intellectual property law. However, the law on intellectual property was passed in 2009.

"BlackBerry AppWorld goes through a different due diligence (legal and regulatory) based on countries not operators. MTN is working closely with them (RIM) to get this sorted out," an MTN source said, adding that they have no capacity to push RIM.

In an email sent to The New Times, RIM's Corporate Communications Manager Africa, Christa Botha, said that RIM's rollout of AppWorld is done on a country-to-country basis.

"We work closely with our carrier partners to bring the latest BlackBerry products and services to the market. BlackBerry App World is being launched on a country by country basis as part of a phased rollout globally," Botha said.