Business Mobility

Want a Blackberry Z10 right now? U.S. buyers will pay a cool $1000 for early purchase

You don’t have to wait until mid-March to get the BlackBerry Z10; you can pick up the handset right now from GSM Nation and mobile service provider Solavei, for the not-so-bargain-basement price of $1000.

Solavei is the first carrier in the U.S. to offer the Z10. Major U.S. carriers including AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon have committed to carrying the device, but have yet to announce release dates. Only Verizon has announced pricing: $199 for a one-year contract. The Z10 isn’t expected to be available for sale in the United States for at least another month.

BlackBerry fans clamoring for the all-new touch-centric BlackBerry handset might be ready to snap up the Z10 a little earlier than expected at almost any price. Unlocked phones are certainly expensive, but is it worth it to dump your current provider and go with Solavei?

If you haven’t heard of Solavei before, it is a relatively new company that is one part contract-free mobile service provider and one part Amway-style direct sales scheme. Solavei’s service runs as a mobile virtual network (MVNO) on top of T-Mobile’s network, providing unlimited voice, data, and SMS for about $50 per month.

[RELATED: BlackBerry Z10 enjoys brisk sales starting outside the U.S.]

You can’t beat Solavei’s monthly price of $50 for unlimited everything (data, SMS, and voice). So unless you have multiple devices requiring a shared data plan for tablets, laptop broadband cards, and smartphones, it will be pretty hard for the four big carriers to beat Solavei’s price.

Is $1000 a good deal?

Solavei also sweetens the deal by giving you discounts if you sign up your friends and your friends sign up other friends. For every three people you sign up, Solavei will give you a $20 per month discount. If one of your friends signs up another three people, you get another $20 per month.

BlackBerry Z10

But what about that $1000 price tag for a phone? Paying for your own phone has its benefits. An unlocked phone is great if you travel outside of the country. It can often be cheaper to just pick up a local SIM and pay as you go for cellular service instead of signing up for an international data plan with your carrier at home.

Unlocked devices also give you the freedom to pick up and leave your current mobile carrier if you’re unhappy with their service.

Still, is the Z10 worth about the same price as two 16GB iPads with Retina display? Apple sells the unlocked 16GB iPhone 5 for $650. And Bell Canada, a wireless carrier north of the 49th parallel, is selling the Z10 unlocked for $650 in Canadian dollars (about $645 in U.S. dollars).

Reports in January had the Z10 priced at the equivalent of $750 from the U.K-based phone retailer Carphone Warehouse. At the time of this writing, however, Carphone Warehouse wasn’t advertising a contract-free Z10 online.

Whether you expect U.S. unlocked retail pricing for the Z10 to be $750 or closer to Canada’s price at $650 it still beats Solavei’s price by a few hundred dollars.

Solavei’s deal might be enticing to BlackBerry fans eager to get their hands on a new Z10. But you’ll have more choices and a better bargain by waiting a few more weeks for the larger U.S. rollout.

For comprehensive coverage of the Android ecosystem, visit Greenbot.com.

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