Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Trade Ministry to stop BlackBerry distribution on Wednesday

The Trade Ministry is preparing to declare all new BlackBerry phones illegal and launch raids against stores selling the devices should the company that produces them, Research In Motion, fail to provide a local after-sales service office by a Wednesday deadline.

“If the Communications and Information Ministry wants to stop BlackBerry distribution and asks us to raid shops selling illegal BlackBerrys, then we will do it immediately,” said Inayat Iman, the Trade Ministry’s director of services and goods distribution monitoring. “We are waiting for their final decision on this matter.”

Inayat said that new BlackBerry phones might be deemed contraband after Wednesday if the Communications Ministry implemented the ban as promised after a meeting with the latter on Wednesday.

“This will mean that it will be illegal to sell or distribute BlackBerry devices,” he said.

Last week, the Communications Ministry said that it was standing by its July 1 deadline for RIM to establish a local after-sales service network or face a ban that could see a BlackBerry famine after existing stocks run out.

RIM has promised to set up such a facility by Aug. 26 to meet what it said was a Trade Ministry deadline set in May.

Speaking on Monday, Gatot S. Dewabroto, a spokesman for the Communications Ministry, acknowledged that his ministry had received a letter from RIM on Saturday explaining that it could not meet the July deadline.

However, he said that the ministry would not backtrack on the proposed ban “because we don’t want to appear inconsistent [in our treatment of RIM].”

The Jakarta Globe has the full report..