Headlines

BlackBerry service center
ready, but certification
still a problem

The government has approved a service center for Research in Motion Ltd. (RIM), the producer of the popular BlackBerry smartphone, but is yet to authorize all trade certifications that RIM needs to trade its products.

Information and Communications Ministry spokesman, Gatot S. Dewabroto, said Wednesday that a ministry team had comprehensively inspected the proposed service center on Aug. 19, a week prior to the deadline designated by the government to the Canadian company to set up service outlets in the country.

"We have approved an RIM-authorized repair facility and it has met all of our requirements," he told The Jakarta Post. "But we haven't unfrozen its *trade* certifications. We're still waiting for RIM to submit an official letter *about its operations in Indonesia*. Without that letter, RIM is still unauthorized to have their products imported."

Indonesia blocked the certification procedure of RIM exports into the country in June, due to the absence of after-sales service facilities.

The government previously set July 16 as the deadline for RIM to set up the local service outlets, but later extended the deadline until Aug. 26.

BlackBerry products sold by telecommunication operators, vendors and importers after July 16 have been traded illegally following the ministry's ruling.

Despite the ruling, existing BlackBerry users have still been able to use their phones if they were certified and not purchased on the black-market.

RIM previously said it was only willing to conduct a feasibility study on opening an Indonesian office as market penetration was still at an early stage, with more than 300,000 mobile phones distributed directly or indirectly through local telecommunications operators.

RIM was also concerned about the distribution of BlackBerrys via the black-market, which has presumably supplied 80 percent of the demand.

The government insisted that after-sales service facilities were important given the fast growth of the product, which is expected to reach one million units by the end of this year.

According to Gatot the newly-established service center, located in Sunter, North Jakarta, will not serve BlackBerry users, but only telecommunication operators affiliated with RIM including, Telkomsel, Indosat, XL and Axis.

"To have their BlackBerry's repaired, customers should go to the telecommunication operators where they bought their smartphones," he added.

He said that for the time being customers who had bought BlackBerry phones from vendors or importers would not be able to have their handsets repaired at the RIM service center.

"In the Aug. 19 meeting, we also asked RIM to have dialogues with vendors on how to accommodate customers who purchased BlackBerry phones from vendors," said Gatot.

The Trade Ministry's director for the control of circulating goods and services, Inayat Iman, refused to comment on the issue.

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