AT&T says it still has BlackBerry's back

AT&T's mobile chief says he is continuing to support the embattled smartphone maker.

Roger Cheng Former Executive Editor / Head of News
Roger Cheng (he/him/his) was the executive editor in charge of CNET News, managing everything from daily breaking news to in-depth investigative packages. Prior to this, he was on the telecommunications beat and wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal for nearly a decade and got his start writing and laying out pages at a local paper in Southern California. He's a devoted Trojan alum and thinks sleep is the perfect -- if unattainable -- hobby for a parent.
Expertise Mobile | 5G | Big Tech | Social Media Credentials
  • SABEW Best in Business 2011 Award for Breaking News Coverage, Eddie Award in 2020 for 5G coverage, runner-up National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Award for culture analysis.
Roger Cheng
2 min read
The BlackBerry Z30 did not fare so well. Sarah Tew/CNET

LAS VEGAS -- AT&T has not abandoned BlackBerry.

In fact, the Dallas telecom giant continues to lend its help to the struggling company, which is in the middle of transforming itself into a more business-focused company.

"We're supporting their efforts to continue being a viable supplier," said Ralph de la Vega, head of AT&T's mobility business, in an interview with CNET.

AT&T continues to work with BlackBerry, and de la Vega said he was meeting with BlackBerry interim CEO John Chen while in town during the Consumer Electronics Show.

"I think John has a good plan," de la Vega said.

BlackBerry holds its own press conference tomorrow morning. Check back in with CNET for the full coverage.

BlackBerry has said it would retreat from the consumer market, which many took to mean that it wouldn't make any new devices.

Indeed, its last device, the jumbo BlackBerry Z30, was sold through Verizon Wireless, and was only offered online in a tepid showing of enthusiasm from the carrier.

But BlackBerry on Monday tapped Ron Louks, a former executive for HTC and Sony Ericsson, to be its new devices head, signaling a willingness to proceed with building and selling mobile devices. Chen has made several overtures to the public to keep the faith with BlackBerry, touting its still strong presence in business.

De la Vega said he has been a supporter of BlackBerry since day one, and noted that some customers are still loyal to the brand and its trademark physical keyboard.

He wouldn't comment on whether BlackBerry was making another device, saying that was for BlackBerry to talk about.

De la Vega also weighed in on another changing partnership in Nokia, which is poised to complete the sale of its devices business to Microsoft.

He sees the deal as a positive, noting that Microsoft can be more efficient with its marketing with the Nokia business in the fold.

"It's good for us, good for them, and good for the consumer," he said.

De la Vega said he would continue to give the Microsoft business the same kind of support as past campaigns for Nokia.