Customers who trade in their BlackBerrys at T-Mobile will receive up to… (Graeme Roy / Associated…)
T-Mobile, which got into a bit of trouble with BlackBerry a few days ago when it encouraged its BlackBerry users to switch to the iPhone 5s, is trying to make amends.
The wireless carrier said in a blog post that starting this Friday, it will offer a $200 credit to users -- including non-T-Mobile customers -- who trade in their current BlackBerry and upgrade to a new T-Mobile device, whether that's a new BlackBerry or another manufacturer's device.
Existing T-Mobile BlackBerry users who trade in their BlackBerrys and choose a new Q10 or Z10 smartphone will get an additional $50 off.
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The limited-time promotion came a day after BlackBerry CEO John Chen blasted T-Mobile in a blog post for targeting BlackBerry users with an offer to switch to the iPhone 5s for $0 down.
"To T-Mobile, I would like to remind you that our long-standing partnership was once productive and profitable for both BlackBerry and T-Mobile," Chen said in his post on Tuesday. "I hope we can find a way forward that allows us to serve our shared customers once again."
Scores of BlackBerry faithful were also angered by T-Mobile's move last week and took to social media outlets over the weekend to slam the wireless carrier.
The reaction was so strong that Mike Sievert, T-Mobile's chief marketing officer, wrote a blost post Wednesday afternoon that introduced the mea culpa offer and began: "Wow. Mind blown."
"The passion we’ve seen from the BlackBerry Loyal over the past couple days has been pretty amazing. I want you to know we’ve heard you," he said. "We’ve been working overtime here to find the best possible way to show BlackBerry users exactly how much we appreciate and respect your passion for and loyalty to T-Mobile and to BlackBerry."
Still, Sievert was critical of the comments Chen made on Tuesday, saying "the premise of his article was that it's best for customers if we restrict the free flow of information and limit consumer choice. At T-Mobile we totally reject that premise."
"We simply have a different point of view on the matter of choice than the one expressed yesterday by Mr. Chen," Sievert said. "The Un-carrier is fundamentally about delivering real flexibility and freedom to wireless customers. It’s just not in us to lock customers in to annual service contracts, make them wait for upgrades ... or limit them to one or the other type of device or OS. That’s not what we’re about."
And T-Mobile's brash CEO, John Legere, also couldn't resist getting in a few final jabs. On Wednesday, hours before announcing the new BlackBerry offer, Legere tweeted: "Was going to engage John Chen on Twitter, but turns out he's not here. I'll check MySpace."
A couple of hours later, he sent another tweet: "If you want to stay on #blackberry, our offer is the best out there. Feel free to call me next time, Chen! ;)"