Well, I am Brazilian and the comment section has shown us we have at least two other readers from Brazil. So why not give this heads up as well. It seems that Vivo (pronounced Vee-voh) now is going to offer the Curve 8310, the one that is usually seen in the “titanium” or “ruby” colors. Personally, I prefer the “golden” 8320, but more choice is always welcome. I certainly wouldn’t mind having a ruby Berry!
This particular choice is even more welcome because Brazilians love GPS and the Blackberry is not terribly popular in Brazil. I don’t know personally any other Blackberry owner, and even in the Brazilian phone and gadget forums, I’ve run into less than a dozen of these types. Maybe the whole bunch is too busy thumb-typing to participate in forums. Actually, Blackberry pricing (phone and data plan) is steep for Brazilian standards. The phone can be had for a very good discount if you buy a “hefty” one-year voice plan with it. By “hefty” I mean “plenty of minutes”, and what we call “plenty of minutes” in Brazil would make an American chuckle. But I digress. It’s still expensive anyway and the Blackberry data plan is often regarded as too restricted – Vivo actively refuses to provide an APN. Search Google and you’re bound to find countless Vivo APNs. None of them really works and Vivo representatives have told me it is on purpose. It is supposed to be restricted. And there is very little advertising or awareness campaigns. Most Brazilian consumers don’t even know what a Blackberry is or how it is different from any other phone. They’re just left wondering why it is so much more expensive than most phones.
Little advertising doesn’t seem to stop the Treos. These are quite popular among business types and the consumer market in general. Palm still is a strong name here. Nokia and Sony-Ericsson are also very strong, especially the Nokia N95 phone, but these brands get quite some publicity around here. And although the N95 costs a lot, people recognize its value immediately with all that strong media stuff. Looking down on Motorola has become de rigueur among connoisseurs, but it remains a strong selling brand among “ordinary” consumers, probably because Motorola are always advertising so much. Summing up, I think that RIM should try and do something to have a stronger presence in Brazil. I talk to phone and gadget freaks all the time in Brazilian forums and I can assure you that most people simply don’t know or understand the Blackberry and what benefits it has to offer.
Vivo is in fact the carrier I’ve been using since I bought my Curve. It’s the only one to offer both GSM and CDMA in Brazil, but I don’t think they carry any CDMA Blackberry. They carry the MotoQ and the Treo 750p for that. Vivo still is one of the most feared and loathed carriers in this country. They have built a very strong and enduring reputation for overbilling and providing low quality support and service. All Brazilian carriers have some of that same reputation, but Vivo managed to make the top of the list of negative mindshare. This got a lot worse when they implemented their most unpopular measure ever: disabling Bluetooth in most of their phones, allegedly to prevent copyright violation issues. The public’s perception was that they were trying to force people to buy ringtones instead of uploading them for free. They gave up on that stupid idea and Bluetooth has been enabled in all their phones for a long time now, but people still make nasty jokes about that episode, especially because every month we get a new rumor here that Vivo is going to be the one Brazilian carrier to sell the iPhone, which also has issues with Bluetooth.
I am a relatively new user and have almost no problems at all with Vivo. Several recent audit reports indicate that they have been improving their service overall. Overcoming the awful reputation they’ve built for themselves is going to take a while.
If they really get to sell the iPhone in Brazil, then the Blackberry will be neglected even more.