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BT signs deal for Blackberry

British Telecom has signed a deal to begin selling a Canadian handheld computer, called Blackberry, in the UK from July, newspapers reported on Friday.

The Blackberry allows users to send and receive e-mails on the move.

At four-and-a-half inches by three, two-thirds taken up by the screen and one-third the keypad, it is easy to carry and fairly simple to type into, said the Daily Telegraph.

Jim Balsillie, chairman and co-chief executive of Blackberry’s Toronto-based manufacturer, Research in Motion, was quoted by the Telegraph as saying: “We are making 175,000 units for BT to sell this summer.”

The gadget’s users are mainly company executives.

BT’s domestic wireless arm, Cellnet, will start by selling Blackberries to business customers in the summer.

It will be one of the first combined mobile phone and computer devices to take advantage of the faster mobile Internet speeds promised by the introduction of General Packet Radio Service (GPRS), said the paper.

The device will cost around 400 pounds with line rental charges expected to be about 40 pounds a month. But companies will also have to pay to install Blackberry support software which costs 2,000 to 3,000 pounds per user, said the Daily Telegraph.

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