RIM offers free smartphone, server license trade-up as part of BlackBerry 10 prep program

BlackBerry 10 Ready Program to be implemented in stages, says RIM

Research in Motion (NASDAQ: RIMM) is offering a free BlackBerry 10 smartphone and a server license trade-up to companies participating in its BlackBerry 10 Ready Program, designed to prepare customers for the launch of the BlackBerry 10 and BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 (BES 10) server next year.

The free smartphone offer is restricted to companies with BlackBerry technical support at the advantage level or higher, RIM explained. Companies will need to install and run BlackBerry Mobile Fusion, which will be incorporated into BES 10, and complete an online learning course to qualify.

The BlackBerry 10 Ready Program is being unveiled in a number of stages. The offer of a free smartphone and a BlackBerry 10 webcast series were launched on Thursday.

In January, RIM will offer customers the ability to trade up their existing BES 5 license to a BES 10 license for free until Dec. 31, 2013. In addition, the firm will offer customers a set of readiness services, including planning migration tools and application development services, to ease the transition to BlackBerry 10.

"We are going to allow an enterprise customer to trade up their BES 5 CALs [client access licenses] to BES 10. We are doing it in a way that enables the customer to tell us how many CALs they have that they would like to trade up, and we will provide them with an interim CAL, Jeff Holleran, RIM's senior director of enterprise product management, told FierceMobileIT.

"What that gives them is the ability to run that many BlackBerry 10s on the infrastructure that is provided by us. At the end of 2013, for the number of BlackBerry 10 devices they have lit up, we will convert those interim CALs into perpetual CALs. So we are doing a one for one swap with our enterprise customers provided they migrate to BlackBerry 10 devices next year," Holleran explained.

For more:
- see RIM's release

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