BlackBerry today announced it has acquired Movirtu, a UK startup that allows multiple numbers to be active on a single device. The Canadian company’s hope is to boost its device management offerings in bring-your-own device (BYOD) and corporate owned personally enabled (COPE) environments. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Movirtu’s Virtual SIM platform allows separate billing for voice, data and messaging on each number being used on a device. Employees can thus switch between business and personal profiles without carrying multiple devices or SIM cards, allowing for separate charges to be billed to the company and the employee. They can also switch between profiles for calls, data and messages, even when they are on their home network or roaming.
BlackBerry plans to offer these Virtual SIM capabilities through mobile operators. That being said, companies that have the BlackBerry Enterprise Service platform will be able to apply IT policies to business numbers without impacting the usability of the device for personal use.
BlackBerry says it will support the deployment of Movirtu technology by mobile operators “on all major smartphone operating systems.” This means Android and iOS, in addition to BlackBerry OS, but whether Windows Phone is included is unclear (Update: BlackBerry tells us no Windows Phone).
“In a BYOD and COPE world, there remain a number of efficiency and convenience challenges facing enterprises, employees and mobile operators alike,” BlackBerry CEO John Chen said in a statement. “The acquisition of Movirtu complements our core strategy of providing additional value added services, and it will leverage our key assets, including our BES platform, along with our existing global infrastructure which is connected to a large number of mobile operators around the world.”
For his part, Movirtu CEO Carsten Brinkschulte has been interviewed by BlackBerry to explain the move. You can read the details at the link below.