blackberry

Handset maker Blackberry is in discussions with the regulatory authorities and telecom operators in India to launch a virtual SIM solution by the end of this year, reports the Economic Times. According to the company, the solution will let users use as many as nine mobile numbers through a single SIM card.

Note that Blackberry had acquired Movirtu, a provider of virtual identity solutions for mobile operators, for an undisclosed amount in September last year. Movirtu provided solutions for corporate owned environments, which let customers use both a business number and a personal number on a single mobile device, with separate billing for voice, data and messaging usage on each number. Looks like Blackberry is now leveraging this technology to offer a virtual SIM solution.

The virtual SIM solution will also let users switch between profiles for calls data and messages, while on their home network and on roaming. It’s not clear however, how many of these numbers can be active at the same time. Other than this, its likely Blackberry will also offers its Blackberry Enterprise Service (BES) platform for enterprise customers to enable IT policies on the business number, without impacting the personal usage of a device.

Blackberry mentions this solution has already been deployed in certain parts of Africa, and that it’s in discussions for rollouts in Europe and other Asia Pacific countries. The company wants to rollout in India by the end of 2015 and is currently clearing regulatory framework. Interestingly, Blackberry mentions that the ability to have different carriers on a virtual SIM is possible technologically, however KYC norms in India will prevent it from offering such a solution.

Revenues: Blackberry had posted a net profit of $23 million for the quarter ended May 31, 2014 (Q1-FY15), after posting losses in four consecutive quarters. Hardware sales accounted for 39% of BlackBerry’s total revenues for the quarter, marginally up from 37% in the previous quarter but a massive decline from 71% in the same quarter the previous year, a good indicator as to why the company now wants to focus on enterprise customers.

Other developments: In July last year, Blackberry was planning to launch a healthcare services platform in India, which would allow integration of medical devices which will aid early detection of illnesses. The same year, the company had bought a minority stake in the privately-held healthcare IT firm NantHealth for an undisclosed amount.

Image source: Flickr user Kārlis Dambrāns