Vodafone picks up BlackBerry calling

The European carrier will begin selling a BlackBerry phone and e-mail device from Research In Motion, opening up new markets for the Canadian company.

European carrier Vodafone will sell Research In Motion's BlackBerry 7230--a combination cell phone and e-mail device--in Europe.

Canada's RIM announced Monday that Vodafone this month will begin selling the color-screen device to businesses in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom--and next month to individual customers. Pricing and roaming service fees will vary slightly, depending on the market, but have not yet been determined, according to a Vodafone representative.

"We are extremely pleased to expand our working relationship with Vodafone into new markets," RIM chief Jim Balsillie said in a statement. Vodafone is a major cell phone service provider in Europe, and its support of the BlackBerry emphasizes RIM's push into that region, he added.

Earlier this year, RIM raised its financial outlook, citing healthy subscription numbers in Europe and North America. The company swung to a profit in its latest earnings report and announced a 70 percent rise in revenue.

The BlackBerry device will use Vodafone's GSM/GPRS (Global System for Mobile Communications/General Packet Radio Service) wireless network to send and receive voice calls and data such as e-mail.

Separately, a U.S. judge denied RIM's request to stay its appeal in its ongoing patent lawsuit with holding company NTP. RIM's opening brief for its appeal is due in 30 days. RIM asked the court to wait while the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office re-examines NTP's patents, which are the key issue of the lawsuit.

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