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RIM reduces Q3, Q4 new-user totals

Blames Blackberry 8700, 7130 delays

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Research in Motion (RIM) will not be able to encourage as many people to buy into its push email service during the coming months as it previously forecast, the company has admitted.

In September, RIM said it was expecting to sign 680,000-710,000 new subscribers during the its third fiscal quarter, which ends on 26 November 2005. Yesterday, it said the figure would be closer to 625,000-653,200, eight per cent down on the earlier forecast.

And its forecast for Q4 is likewise three per cent too high, RIM said. It previously predicted 775,000-825,000 new subscribers would be added in the three months to 4 March 2006 - now the range will be 751,750-800,250.

RIM blamed the reductions on its failure to get its Blackberry 8700 and 7130 handsets on sale early November - the devices are now expected to ship through retail channels in early December - "due to unanticipated launch delays". The result is a big dip in new subscriptions signed during November - subscriber additions for the months of September and October were in the expected range, RIM said.

The company already has more than 4m subscribers.

It's perhaps telling that the RIM announcement comes ahead of the anticipated December debut of Motorola's would-be Blackberry beater, the Q. The Q was originally expected in Q1 2006, which is also when Nokia will ship a similar device, the E61.

RIM re-iterated its Q3 sales forecast of $540-570m, so the fall in new subscription revenue won't be deep enough to dip the figure below the lower limit of that range. ®

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