The other day, sometime before the launch, I explained why I thought BIS plans will stay as service post BlackBerry 10, however following the launch, some statements credited to Rory O’Neill, Vice President of Product & Channel Marketing at BlackBerry during the BlackBerry 10 launch in South Africa, stating that “BlackBerry 10 smartphones will not come bundled with BIS nor support it. The only service to run on BlackBerry’s infrastructure will be BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) and some enterprise related applications.” Have led to an onslaught of blogposts stating that BIS (as a data plan) would not be supported.
Now while that is true to an extent, you need to first understand what exactly BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS) is and the relation to your plan. The most common misconception is that BIS is just a data plan bundled with BlackBerry devices to connect to the internet. It is way beyond data, in fact outside Africa, Asia and the Middle East, in many cases, you pay for BIS alone (for cheaper than we do) then pay for data separately or use the pay-as-you go. Push emails (the way you receive emails on a BlackBerry), push notifications for apps, data compression, end-to-end security, BlackBerry Protect, wireless contact synchronization e.t.c are services offered via BIS on the older devices.
These service are not required on Blackberry 10 as much any longer for various reasons mostly bothering about the fact that most of the services offered by push have been replaced with newer already established services and in most cases (except those on BlackBerry Enterprise Server on some networks), direct access to the BlackBerry back-end via regular internet is possible. For example, BlackBerry 10 employs Microsoft Active Sync tied into their servers to handle email instead of the BIS email push for it’s more advanced features, wireless contact sync is also replaced by built in support for wireless address books e.g Yahoo and Google, e.t.c.
So in a sense, BIS is not supported, you would not need to have BIS for those services any longer. However, your data which is bundled on BIS and that data will be available for use.
CrackBerry have confirmed this, but I have personally reached out to Nigerian networks here to verify, as at the time of posting this, I have gotten feedback from 2 out of the 4 networks (can’t name which obviously). One of is already setup to accept “BIS” requests from BlackBerry 10 devices while the other is still on it but expects to have it done before March which is when that particular network expects to have the devices in stock.
You should note at this point that ability to use the said “BIS” plans rest solely on the network you use and has nothing to do directly with BlackBerry 10 either as an OS or the hardware device.
So barring any last minute changes, here is a summary of how it stands:
- Yes you can use any smartphone data plan for the Z10 and Q10, BIS is no longer compulsory.
- Yes, a dedicated BlackBerry plan will still work at least on two networks (If one network adopts it though, I think they all will).
- A feature plan like email only or BBM only (“BlackBerry Complete” type plans may not be supported).
- Yes, BES users may still need a BES plan depending on what network they use.