Vodafone stocks new BlackBerry Passport

Vodafone stocks new BlackBerry Passport

UK mobile network giant Vodafone has begun sales of the new BlackBerry Passport handset.

The new model was released on October 1st to customers across on the UK on all available channels.

Passport is the first device to be released by BlackBerry since the Z30 in October last year, and will be available in stores and online.

The model has been hotly discussed by many industry analysts, especially given the fact that it heralds the return of the company's trademark QWERTY keyboard, a move that aims to appeal to the firm's core usership.

The handset will also run the highly anticipated BlackBerry OS 10.3, which has attracted plenty of plaudits, with experts viewing it as the perfect platform for BlackBerry's traditional commercial user-base.

It is the latest show of loyalty from Vodafone, which has stocked all of BlackBerry's recent releases, despite a noticeable slide in the Canadian firm's fortunes.

There is plenty of excitement surrounding the new model's release, although the Passport is set to face stiff competition from both Samsung and Apple, both of which have staked their claim in the market with recent releases.

News of the release come on the back of the announcement of the departure of BlackBerry’s head of Vodafone channel sales Ian Wilkin, who has now joined rival firm O2.

Wilkins was responsible for the channel strategy for BlackBerry for more than 350 Vodafone partners, and leaves after working in his current role since 2005.

In confirming his arrival, O2 told Mobile News:  “Ian is responsible for managing our Centre of Excellence accounts in the partner channel."

Vodafone has so far declined to comment on any replacement being appointed, stating it did not want to talk "about rumour or speculation”.