[Updated at 11 AM PT with BlackBerry comments.]

BlackBerry is taking another step toward keeping users’ work and personal lives separate. It announced today the acquisition of Movirtu, which provides multiple identity solutions on a single device.

The UK-based Movirtu allows for separate business and personal phone numbers on one BlackBerry, iOS, or Android device, splitting billing and profiles between a personal and corporate identities. Users can then keep their phone bills separate and have different numbers for their dual selves. The capability will be offered by BlackBerry through its partnering mobile operators.

“Simply put, with the Movirtu Virtual SIM platform, we enable employees to have two phone numbers that splits between corporate and personal use,” Movirtu CEO Carsten Brinkschulte said today on BlackBerry’s blog. Terms of the deal were not made public.

A spokesperson for BlackBerry told VentureBeat that having a separate phone number for work and personal use “is a top 5 issue with customers who are managing COPE [corporate-owned, personally enabled] and BYOD deployments.” Movirtu functions are expected to roll out early next year.

BlackBerry Balance in the company’s Enterprise Service 10 enables work content to be separated from personal content on BlackBerry, iOS, or Android devices.

A secure container is established around the work content. It’s built into the BlackBerry 10 OS, and employs the containerization Secure Work Space option for iOS and Android. Business info cannot be transferred or copied into the personal space or vice versa, and admins can remotely wipe the corporate data and apps.

This kind of separation is a key strategy among IT departments for dealing with devices used for both personal and work purposes. Samsung’s Knox solution, which similarly containerizes the two identities, will be employed in part for the upcoming Android L’s implementation.

We’ve reached out to BlackBerry for comment but have not yet heard back.


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