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Old 07-19-2006, 08:03 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default [2006-07-19] RIM looks to new subscriber milestone

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RIM looks to new subscriber milestone
Co-chief describes leaps already made

`Tremendous opportunity' around globe

WATERLOO—BlackBerry maker Research in Motion Ltd. is racing toward its goal of achieving 10 million subscribers now that the company has closed the book on a long-running patent dispute with Virginia-based NTP Inc.

The Waterloo-based technology darling told shareholders attending its annual meeting last evening that RIM has no shortage of growth opportunities around the world.

"We see a tremendous opportunity with the new products and the new launches," said chairman and co-chief executive officer Jim Balsillie. "We're in a hurry, but our strategies are patient."

The number of BlackBerry subscribers worldwide increased by 680,000 during the first quarter ended June 3, rising to 5.5 million total accounts.

The company has said it expects to add a further 675,000 to 700,000 subscribers in the current fiscal second quarter.

That's a huge leap from this time last year, when the firm had slightly fewer than 3 million subscribers, Balsillie said, noting that new carrier partners and international markets are contributing meaningfully to subscriber growth.

The company currently has 180 carriers in 60 countries and non-North American subscribers represent about 26 per cent of the subscriber base.

He assured investors the company has the resources to take advantages of opportunities, noting RIM had $1.25 billion in cash at the end of fiscal 2006.

"This has become a tremendously exciting global business," he said, adding RIM is targeting the addition of 100 more networks this financial year. Growth hot spots include Latin America, the Middle East and Africa, he said.

In addition, 20 more device launches are expected this year.

Before the meeting, RIM shares gained $2.51 to $73.61 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
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