UPDATE 4-US agency gives RIM another shot, tests new BlackBerry
* ICE to test BB10 platform and devices - spokeswoman
* Agency had recently outlined plans to move to iPhone
* ICE says not backing away from either Apple or RIM
* Announcement sparks yet another rally in RIM shares (Adds RIM executive comment)
By Euan Rocha
TORONTO, Dec 13 (Reuters) - A U.S. federal agency that has been phasing out the BlackBerry in favor of the iPhone said on Thursday it would test Research In Motion's new BB10 smartphones, fueling a fresh spurt in RIM's shares ahead of the new line's launch.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), an investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, will begin a pilot program early next year to test the new line and the software to manage them on its network.
The news, which sent RIM shares up more than 6 percent on Thursday morning, extends a weeks-long rally that has pushed the stock to its highest close in more than seven months.
Investors have warmed to the stock - which had lost about 75 percent of its value in the last two years - on evidence that the make-or-break BB10 line is gaining traction with RIM's bread-and-butter customers in the weeks before its Jan. 30 launch. Continued...