Posted February 5, 2013 by Eric Shirey in Technology

Prolonged Carrier Testing Puts BlackBerry Enthusiats Through Waiting Turmoil

Northern, WI 02/05/2013 (avauncer) - In what could be a big setback for BlackBerry (NASDAQ:RIMM), the launch of its latest phone is further delayed in the US, owing to lengthy testing procedures.  Up until now, the U.S./ launch of the phone is over a year late.

Tests are being conducted by two of America’s largest wireless-service providers Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) and AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T). Following a multistep protocol, these carriers check the device for data performance, strength of the signal, battery lifetime, call quality and thermal tolerance.

As a direct repercussion of the delays, the US launch of the new Z10 will be pushed to over a month  after its UK launch i.e.  till March 2013. This delay has slowed down efforts to release the phone around the world, leading to a decline of 17% in Blackberry’s share price. To add insult to injury, it also means the BlackBerry maker can not reap full value of its first ever Super Bowl advertisement, which could have been a great sales booster.

When its new Smartphone was recently unveiled, BlackBerry (NASDAQ:RIMM) gave the tentative dates of release for markets around the world. In Britain, the phone was unveiled on Jan. 30th, while it arrive is set for  launch in Canada on Feb. 5. UAE market will get it on Feb. 10.

After the delay in the launch angered the investors, BlackBerry (NASDAQ:RIMM)Chief Executive Officer Thorsten Heins squarely put the blame on the lengthy testing practices of the U.S. carriers. He said that the U.S. carriers got the final software at the same time as other noted carriers around the world.

It is evident from this situation that there is a power balance in the U.S. where carriers decide the terms of business and not the phone manufacturers, according to Michael Cote, a noted wireless expert.

However, a notable exception is Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), which inked a deal emphasizing on revenue sharing with AT&T INC. (NYSE:T) on the launch of the iPhone.  In 2011, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) again had the upper hand when it demanded that Sprint Nextel Corp. (NYSE:S), buy $15.5 billion worth of the iPhones.

However, analysts point out that knowing that U.S. carriers have lengthy testing procedures, BlackBerry (NASDAQ:RIMM)should have brought the new model much sooner than the other countries.  The debut of the new phone is behind schedule by at least a year owing to multiple delays.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) ’s iPhone and Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s Android have taken away significant market share of Blackberry.  Keeping this in view, BlackBerry (NASDAQ:RIMM)is counting on the release of the new phones to reverse the current trends.

Another BlackBerry product awaited most eagerly by phone enthusiasts is the BlackBerry Q10, slated to hit the markets in April.

When questioned about the lag in the BlackBerry services in the U.S., Mark Siegel of AT&T INC. (NYSE:T), withheld comment. However, Torod Neptune of Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) explained that testing processes for latest devices such as Z10 and Q10, which run on modern operating systems, can prolong beyond a defined deadline as the  testing process is quite “extensive and rigorous” and total completion time will depend upon the device under scrutiny and specific issues that may be encountered.

The shares of BlackBerry (NASDAQ:RIMM)formerly known as Research in Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) were up by 0.35% to close at $13.02.

The shares of Verizon Communications Inc., (NYSE:VZ) were up by 0.09% to close at $44.52

The shares of AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) were down by 0.79% to close at $35.23.

The shares of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) were down by 2.49% to close at $442.32.

The shares of The shares of Sprint Nextel Corp. (NYSE:S) were up by 0.88% to close at $5.74.

The shares of Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) were down by 2.14% to close at $759.02

Eric Shirey

Eric Shireya is a former newspaper section editor and reporter who has been reporting on Fashion and Lifestyle for about 10 years. His work has been published in national business trade magazines, and can be found on wire services, in daily newspapers, in university alumni magazines, on the web, in newsletters, and more. His career highlights have included interviewing Bob Hope, laughing through a phone conversation with Richard Simmons, chatting with Melissa Etheridge, and enduring a press conference in a hot air balloon.