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Feb 6, 2017

BlackBerry inks hardware licensing deal with India's Optiemus

TCL Communication Technology Holdings' BlackBerry phone unveiled at CES 2017

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BlackBerry Ltd (BB.TO) has signed a hardware licensing agreement covering India and nearby countries, the Canadian company said on Monday, filling in the last markets where a third-party will manufacture its once-ubiquitous devices as it turns fully to software.

The Waterloo, Ontario-based company said the long-term licensing deal with Optiemus Infracom Ltd covers India, one of BlackBerry's biggest handset markets, as well as Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh.

The company did not provide financial terms of the deal, but one analyst estimates that BlackBerry is collecting US$1 per handset from around 7 million third-party sales a quarter.

"Visibility to the success of its partners to drive new and upgrade sales remains limited," Wells Fargo analyst Maynard Um wrote in a note to clients, adding that existing deals have not driven hardware sales.

The news follows a similar according covering Indonesia that was announced last September and a global deal - excluding Indonesia and some South Asian countries - signed with China's TCL Communication Technology Holdings Ltd in December.