Fireside Chats with AT&T (#2)


Hello BlackBerry Fans.

By now everyone should be enjoying either the beautiful BlackBerry PassPort, the best and smartest smartphone in the world, or the beautiful Classic, the most productive mobile powerhouse in the world.

What? You’re not? You must be in the U.S where the exclusive carrier is none other than AT&T. I know I am.
I also know that I have neither of these phones, even though I want both. It’s an odd situation for a customer to be in, with a fist full of money that nobody seems to want.


It would seem to be a simple matter to talk to the carrier that is the only one carrying it to get some information.
But alas, more than four months since the PassPort has been released, there is not a word about it still on the AT&T website.

It’s been a while since I’ve had a talk with my carrier, the one I have been with since the Nokia flip phone days. Three months to be exact since my last fireside chat, so I thought that that I would give it another go and see how things are progressing, and here is how it went.






So let me try to make sense of this.

AT&T is given an exclusive on the PassPort and the Classic in the United States.

The Passport is not designed right according to them, so they school BlackBerry on phone design and send them back to the drawing board to try again. Who knows the astronomical cost of doing this because the phone is good enough for the rest of the world, but not round enough for AT&T.

BlackBerry comes back with it’s new design, AT&T announces to the world how much they love BlackBerry and will support the new phones, everyone is happy ok let’s have the phones now, no more holdups.

So off to the website and nothing to be seen. A search for available phones returns only the Q10. A chat with AT&T reveals that they are out of stock on the phone that they had designed exclusively for them…when it never even went on sale.

Then, they blame BlackBerry for not replenishing their stock of phones that they never put on sale that are sold out.

So where did those mythical rounded PassPorts go? Can’t even be pre-ordered. Still. But they will be happy to take your email and send you information as it develops. No thank you, AT&T keep your roundy phone I need one that functions. NOW.

Oh yes I can buy an unlocked one and throw it on the network, but at this point I don’t even wish to reward AT&T with my continued business, so I’m waiting to see how Verizon handles this. What about you?





I am a long time BlackBerry user and fan. Beginning with the 7520, I have recognized the value of subtle productivity enhancements in BlackBerry devices for business communication and have never since strayed. Even when the iPhone took the market by storm, I was unimpressed, because it did nothing to help my business needs. Currently enjoying my one handed dream phone, the Classic! BB10 with a toolbelt! Today I contribute to UTB whenever I feel that I can help enlighten someone on the benefits of using BlackBerry over any other platform.

  • DLewis13

    Frustrating, disgraceful, disgusting. Cleanest words I could come up with. If I hear anything about Verizon, I’ll fire something off to you ASAP.

  • ray689

    Wow. That’s the most ridiculous thing i’ve seen in a while. I would be calling to talk to someone in management to explain to them they need to either train their staff or not have them blatantly lie to customers. Funny how she shifts the blame to BlackBerry as to not knowing when they will get more stock. Terrible.

    • Blackjack

      I don’t know if I can blame the poor girl she’s just doing what she’s told…I would like to get behind that iron wall between the execs and customer service though.

  • Tracmila

    I would love to hear Blackberrys side. Who’s fooling who?

  • xBURK

    Reading this from the outside, it looks as if she is to stay on script no matter what. The frustrating part is not knowing the reason behind it. BlackBerry has screwed up many times, but I’m finding it hard to fault them here. Especially when Chen explained BlackBerry can’t afford any mistakes in this transition. It would be interesting to do this again with someone else at AT&T’s help desk. I’m sure you’re sick of it all, but would be great never the less. Have you tweeted this to AT&T?

    • Blackjack

      I’m not a tweeter Burke but feel free. Yes it would be interesting it’s always fun to have a nice chat with these folks. Maybe another month I will do fireside chat #3.

      • xBURK

        Oh God, I’m not sure I didn’t get the #2 part? Long day I guess. I’ll catch up in fire chat *6. :D

        • xBURK

          Here we go go again…..edit: why I didn’t get….

  • Canuckvoip

    The retail situation in Canada can feel frustrating at times, but what you guys go through in the States is bloody scandalous!
    If I didn’t know better (uh huh), I’d say that “somebody” doesn’t want Americans to have a more secure mobile device.

  • Tommy C

    Your articles make me laugh, Monkey! You made that rep look so stupid and they were blissfully unaware of it! High five to you, sir!

  • newcollector

    I feel your frustration. What sticks in my craw is the bald face lying. “Sold out”? How do they sell out when they are not available. Talk about blowing smoke!

  • Alan

    Strange how she was willing to say they have sold out, when we all know The Passport and the Classic have never been made available through At&t to sell so far. How can they get away with such blatant lies? I would agree though that BlackBerry should address this situation for us all. What is the truth behind all of this? I mean, is it even legal to lie like this? Something is a muck.

  • bambinoitaliano

    I believe AT&T is aware of a small BlackBerry loyalists will be bombarding them with demand of the Passport and Classic. That standard script of Sold Out is just to placard these insignificant customers. My kitty sense seems to wonder if BlackBerry was intentionally trap by AT&T and Apple into this exclusive deal to be shut out of US market. Something more sinister than just pretend ignorance by AT&T. I would have BlackBerry look into the anti competitive laws in the US like the Canadian and the European courts are looking into Apple business practices there.

  • razrrob

    BJ- great read!

    So one must wonder-

    has AT&T ordered phones and BlackBerry not delivered them?

    has AT&T ordered phones and is sitting on them until their iPhone stock is down?

    It would be interesting to hear BlackBerry’s side of the story


    Clearly A.T+T accepted the deal on the BlackBerry phones to keep them off the market. If A,T +T are the exclusive dealers then nobody else will get them. It is a good strategy and successfully keeps the BlackBerry phones, that would threaten apple sales out of sight and out of mind.
    The real question is, what dolt at BlackBerry, after being shafted by A.T+T the first time, thought it would be a good idea to invest tens of millions of dollars, re-designing the PassPort and manufacturing it for A.T+T this time? Apparently the old adage “once bitten, twice shy” doesn’t hold at BB head office. This was a really stupid mistake and someone’s head should be bouncing down the exit ramp.

  • Anthony

    Look how important the smartphone market is for a company like Apple. Apple, Google-NSA, and Microsoft are surely using every leverage to keep competitors out of the US market.

    Perhaps AT&T had ulterior motives when it made its “exclusive” Passport deal with BlackBerry. locco_smiley_39