BlackBerry: UK is lighthouse for technology in Europe and beyond

BlackBerry: UK is lighthouse for technology in Europe and beyond
Shine on Britain, shine on

When people think about technology their thoughts tend to congregate in North America and Asia, but the rest of the world still has a lot to offer and Britain is seen as a shining light.

While many of the major tech brands such as Apple, Samsung and Google may be based elsewhere in the world the UK provides the perfect platform for entry to Europe, as BlackBerry's UK MD, Rob Orr, explained to TechRadar.

"The home market is obviously important for BlackBerry, but the UK market is a lighthouse for Euorpe, Africa and the Middle East," he said.

"For BlackBerry a significant proportion of our enterprise business is based in the UK and we have very good relationships with O2, Vodafone and EE."

BlackBerry big in Britain

These relationships allowed BlackBerry to actually launch its latest flagship handsets, the Z10 and Q10, in the UK first - which just goes to show the influence this country has.

"Our devices and platform are used in 95 per cent of the FTSE 100 firms, all the government departments use it, half the police force uses it and we have a significant base of active users.

"We're in a good spot in the UK. We're number three in the market from a share perspective.

"It was the market where we launched the Z10 and Q10 first and that shows the UK is important to us. It's a hugely advanced and you've got a significant penetration of smartphones in the market, so it's very important."

Slow 4G rollout no issue

BlackBerry doesn't believe the slow rollout of 4G in Britain is much of a problem, even though all three of its BlackBerry 10-toting handsets come LTE enabled - including the slightly cheaper Q5.

"I think what EE has done has been transformational. They really moved the agenda forward in terms of 4G for the British economy," Orr said.

"4G technology is critical and we've got to be the digital leader in the world market place. What EE did was spot an opportunity to get a jump on the rest of the market with the spectrum they already had in this portfolio.

"I'm looking forward to seeing what O2, Vodafone and BT do in the space, so 4G is extremely important. 4G is one of those absolutely critical enablers for our mobile computing platform."

BlackBerry is having a tough time at the moment, but one of the countries where the Canadian firm still has a decent grip on - in the enterprise market at least - is the UK, and perhaps Britain could be the one to save the struggling firm.

John McCann
Global Managing Editor

John joined TechRadar over a decade ago as Staff Writer for Phones, and over the years has built up a vast knowledge of the tech industry. He's interviewed CEOs from some of the world's biggest tech firms, visited their HQs and has appeared on live TV and radio, including Sky News, BBC News, BBC World News, Al Jazeera, LBC and BBC Radio 4. Originally specializing in phones, tablets and wearables, John is now TechRadar's resident automotive expert, reviewing the latest and greatest EVs and PHEVs on the market. John also looks after the day-to-day running of the site.