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Blackberry in Montevideo

Posted by urufish on August 26, 2007

 blackberry-8700.jpg  blackberry_logo.gif

My job requires me to be in 24/7, electronic contact with the head office in Toronto.  When I got back to Uruguay, there were 2 things I needed to do right away.  Get a Blackberry and a 2nd, (redundant) internet connection.  Both proved challenging but the Blackberry was more urgent.  So it’s the first one I tackled.  ?

First of all, Blackberry is relatively new to Uruguay.  I had the service in Toronto pretty much from its inception.  (It’s a Canadian company based in Waterloo-next door to Toronto).  In those days, the phones really were Blackberries.  Until very recently they were Blue (Blueberries).   I first saw Blackberries available here with Movistar.  An advertisement at a bus stop on 21 was my first indication that Uruguay had moved into this technology. 

When I looked Blackberries up on the internet, I noticed that CTI also carries them.  But I already have  Movistar so I figured I’d try them first.  The first hurdle is you cant do anything from the Internet.  They simply say we have the service, call for more information.  No prices.. no availability.. no idea what it involves.  I feared the worst. 

Because my Spanish isn’t so good and Movistar’s english is worse, I had our IT head in Chile call Movistar.  2nd hurdle.  There’s only a Uruguay wide 800 number on the website.  So she emailed them and asked for their local number.  After a few more hurdles, she got the local number, had a nice conversation and set it up for me to go down and pick one up. 

When I got to Movistar, the person I was to see didn’t exist.  No surprise there.  I talked to the salesguy and he offered me the Pearl.    I said Pearls aren’t serious enough for my application.  I needed the 8700 – full keyboard.  He said he didn’t know if they had any in stock, but he’d call back the next day.  

I decided to check out CTI after I left Movistar, to see if they had one available right away.  They were worse.  Tried to sell me a really old Blueberry model.   I thanked them and left.

Next day, the Movistar guy called back.  Said he had one.  I went downtown to pick it up.  After 2 hours, I finally had it, with my old phone number.  Cost – $4800UYP for the equpment with a new voice contract.   It’s $12000UYP without a 2 year voice contract.  The service price is $850UYP/month.  That’s for unlimited emails, chat, messenger and internet access.   I find the data costs very fair.  

 They told me I had to come back in a couple of days and have the tech guys setup the data side at another location.  Not sure why they asked me to do that.  I set it up myself that evening.  Put the 6 people on my chat list that I need to stay in 24/7 contact with.  Invited them all to an online chat.  Everyone welcomed me back..   It’s a weird feeling, carrying all your co-workers around on your waist.  Able to reach them within seconds, any time of the day or night.  Weird indeed. 

Doing what I do and in my situation living here in Uruguay, a Blackberry is indispensable.  I can respond to emails immediately, no matter where I am.  When staff need answers quickly, there’s no substitute.  Calling back and forth, on cellphones between Canada, US, Chile and Uruguay would be cost prohibitive.  We’re all on unlimited plans, so we can dialog any time we want without extra charge. 

Many people think that having a cellphone or a Blackberry attached to you is the equivalent of being chained to the office 24/7.  I see it exactly the opposite way.  It’s total freedom, to go anwyhere and do anything you want and NOT be chained to the desk and your phone. 


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