Today, Solavei became the first U.S. wireless carrier to release the BlackBerry Z10, a month or more before the other leading U.S. carriers are expected to release the much anticipated smartphone. What the hell, you may ask, is Solavei? At least, that's the question I was wondering this morning after I received a related press release.
Solavei is, apparently,"T-Mobile’s contract-free mobile service provider (MVNO)." Who knew? It offers a $49 monthly, contract-free unlimited voice, text and data plan using T-Mobile's 4G network.
The BlackBerry Z10 is available exclusively to Solavei members through its retail partner GSM Nation, and the unsubsidized smartphone will retail for $1000. The Z10 is currently available in the United Kindgom and Canada on a multiple carriers. A subsidized BlackBerry Z10 on Rogers in Canada currently costs $139.99 with a three-year service contract.
Solavei will surely gain some visibility due to the fact that it is the first to offer the BlackBerry Z10 in the United States. But I honestly don't see it selling too many of these devices. That massive price tag will surely be a turnoff for many folks. Solavei's target customers, people who want to pay for cellular service by the month instead of signing a contract, in many cases probably want cheaper or free phones instead of $1000, high-end handsets. And Solavei uses T-Mobile's network, which is not an LTE network, so users won't get the most of the Z10 with only HSPA+ data speeds.
Regardless, the BlackBerry Z10 is a solid smartphone—read my full, hands-on review of the Z10 for specifics—so it should put smiles on the faces of at least a few Solavei customers willing to drop a significant chunk of change for the first BlackBerry 10 device.