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BlackBerry Z10 Said to Hit AT&T Stores March 22 for U.S.

BlackBerry’s new Z10 device will go on sale with AT&T Inc. (T) on March 22 as the Canadian smartphone maker seeks a sales recovery in its biggest market, according to two people familiar with the plan.

The touch-screen phone will begin appearing in U.S. stores that day, said the people, who asked not to be named because no release date has been announced.

BlackBerry, which gets about one-fifth of revenue from the U.S., is counting on the Z10 to revive its brand’s appeal against more popular rivals led by Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s iPhone. While the device has won praise from U.S. technology critics and will have already debuted in 21 countries at the end of this week, American consumers have had to wait because their carriers have longer testing periods for phones.

Mark Siegel, a spokesman for Dallas-based AT&T, declined to comment on the Z10’s availability. “BlackBerry has not announced official launch dates for the BlackBerry Z10 in the U.S. and we are not able to confirm any rumored launch dates on behalf of our carrier partners,” the Waterloo, Ontario-based company said in an e-mailed statement.

Verizon Wireless, the largest U.S. mobile-phone operator, said last month it expects to offer the Z10 at the end of March. Torod Neptune, a Verizon spokesman, declined to comment yesterday about a start date.

Sprint Nextel Corp. (S) said it won’t offer the Z10, opting to sell only the Q10, a model that comes with a physical keyboard, later this year. T-Mobile USA, a unit of Deutsche Telekom AG (DTE), said on Feb. 7 that it aims to start selling the phone in mid- March. Stephanie Mrus, a T-Mobile spokeswoman, declined to provide an update.

BlackBerry fell 1.2 percent to $13.06 at the close in New York. The stock has increased 10 percent this year, compared with an 8.8 percent gain for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index. AT&T rose less than 1 percent to $36.68.

To contact the reporters on this story: Hugo Miller in Toronto at hugomiller@bloomberg.net; Scott Moritz in New York at smoritz6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nick Turner at nturner7@bloomberg.net

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