After threats by the Indian goverment to suspend BlackBerry services in the country by August 31, news reports have confirmed that RIM, the makers of BlackBerry have agreed to give India access to its BlackBerry messenger service beginning September 1 to address security concerns raised by the Indian governement.
RIM share prices slid US$2.57, or 4.8 percent, to US$50.83 on NASDAQ following the announcement. Its biggest dive this month. The stock has lost 25% this year.
RIM will first give agencies access to messenger services on a manual basis, with information provided for individual phone numbers on request of the government, the Bloomberg report revealed. RIM will provide a more automated solution to tracking BlackBerry smartphone messages by November.
In addition, RIM engineers will meet with technical staff from India’s Department of Telecommunications tomorrow to work on a solution that allows access to corporate emails inside the BlackBerry servers.
RIM issued a statement last week to customers that it said was in response to government comments in India.
“Although RIM cannot disclose confidential regulatory discussions that take place with any government, RIM assures its customers that it genuinely tries to be as cooperative as possible with governments in the spirit of supporting legal and national security requirements, while also preserving the lawful needs of citizens and corporations,”
The company also said the “security architecture” of its corporate e-mail system hasn’t been modified for any country.
In the United Arab Emirates, BlackBerry’s Messenger, e-mail and Web browsing services will be halted from Oct. 11, the nation’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority said on Aug. 1. Other countries that have expressed concern about BlackBerry services, include Indonesia and Saudi Arabia.
According to analysts from RBC Capital Markets in Toronto, RIM has about 1.1 million users in India, 1.2 million subscribers in Indonesia and 1.2 million in the U.A.E. and Saudi Arabia together. As of the end of May, the company had 46 million subscribers globally, according to it quarterly report.