UPDATE 3-RIM shares slump as service revenue, subscriber concerns weigh
* Subscriber numbers fall for the first time
* RIM to change service pricing model, worrying analysts
* Stock drops 10 pct, reversing 7 pct gain after the bell
* Company reports net profit on tax gain
By Euan Rocha
Dec 20 (Reuters) - Research In Motion shares tumbled more than 10 percent on Thursday after the company reported the first ever decline in its subscriber numbers and outlined plans to transform the way it charges for its BlackBerry services.
RIM, which hopes to revive its fortunes and reinvent itself via the launch of a brand new line of BlackBerry 10 devices next month, caught investors off-guard on its quarterly conference call, when it said it plans to alter its service revenue model - a move that will pressure the high-margin business that accounts for about a third of RIM's sales.
"RIM provided few details regarding the economics of these changes, thus adding a large cloud of uncertainty to the primary driver of its profitability, which we view as especially worrisome given risks already surrounding the firm's massive BlackBerry 10 transition," said Morningstar analyst Brian Colello.
Those subscribers who need enhanced services like advanced security will pay for these services, while those who do not use such services will generate much lower to no service revenue, RIM Chief Executive Thorsten Heins told analysts and investors on a conference call on Thursday. Continued...