Mobile operator Wataniya last night launched the Blackberry service in the Maldives, at a ‘black suit’ event held in the National Art Gallery.
Beyond just a range of smart-phones allowing for ‘push’ email connectivity, the Blackberry service is one of the world’s largest private networks with 67 million subscribers and 14.8 percent of the global smartphone market.
The device, produced by Canadian technology company Research in Motion (RIM), grew in popularity on the back of business and corporate users, attracted by its security features, reliability and strong encryption.
The event last night opened with a dance by a man in a glow-in-the-dark jumpsuit, and a band playing the Beatles tune ‘All you need is love’.
Vice President of the Maldives Dr Mohamed Waheed remarked that RIM’s decision to enter the market in the Maldives “is a vote of confidence in the business environment of our country, and for that we are grateful.”
Dr Waheed also noted that the introduction of consumer and business-grade secure communications in the Maldives was “an indication of how our country has matured”, and “an indication that our country is comfortable with the freedoms that we have; particularly the freedoms of expression and democracy.”
“This is an important step towards the improvement of commerce and business in the Maldives,” Dr Waheed said, adding that the country’s “dynamic, highly literate and IT savvy youth” would ensure “a bright future” for Blackberry in the Maldives.
Chief Operating Officer of Wataniya Stephen Smith said the company was proud to enter in partnership with RIM, “to provide the highly anticipated service to customers in the Maldives for the first time. Blackberry provides a meaningful and secure connection to enterprise email and other important systems, and we’re glad to be able to provide this capability to our customers.”
Canadian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, Bruce Levy, meanwhile observed that without their Blackberries, the Canadian government “would shut down overnight.”
“The first thing I saw when I landed in the Maldives was a fleet of twin otter seaplanes, many of which are piloted by Canadians. The delegation tonight is staying at Four Seasons, an eminient Canadian hotel chain, and the President is off to the Toronto International Film festival this weekend,” Levy said.
“It is a great time to be Canadian in the Maldives.”