AT&T to start selling BlackBerry Z10 devices on March 22

TORONTO, March 11 Mon Mar 11, 2013 10:22am EDT

TORONTO, March 11 (Reuters) - AT&T Inc said on Monday that it would start selling the highly anticipated BlackBerry Z10 touchscreen smartphone to customers by March 22, with early sales of the long-delayed devices to begin on Tuesday.

BlackBerry, formerly known as Research In Motion, is hoping the new devices, which are already on sale in Canada, Great Britain and more than 20 other countries, will help it regain market share in the United States, which was once a stronghold for the smartphone industry pioneer.

The U.S. launch of the new devices had been delayed due to a longer carrier-testing phase in the country.

BlackBerry has said sales of the new devices have been outpacing its expectations, but investors are keen to see how the products fare in the United States. The company has rapidly ceded market share there to the likes of Apple Inc's iPhone and a slew of devices powered by Google's Android operating system.

As expected, AT&T said it would sell the devices for $199.99 with a two-year contract. T-Mobile USA said on Friday it planned to start selling the BlackBerry Z10 to its business customers in the United States on Monday.

Verizon Inc, the biggest U.S. wireless carrier, has yet to say when its sales of the Z10 will begin.

BlackBerry shares were up 5.1 percent at $13.70 in early Nasdaq trading on Monday, while its Toronto-listed stock rose by a similar margin to C$14.12.

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