To be successful in North America, you have to have a device on the biggest network, Verizon.
The Lumia 710 has been getting good reviews after having launched on the T-Mobile network recently, especially at the $50 price point. There is a lot of enthusiasm for the Lumia 900 coming soon to AT&T. Both of those networks use the global GSM standard though. To be successful in North America, you have to have a device on the biggest network, Verizon.
In an interview on FierceWireless, Nokia U.S. president Chris Weber stated Verizon is an important partner for the carrier, but I am not sure Verizon feels the same way.
Verizon has said that it wants to focus on LTE devices and has even gone as far as saying that all future smartphones it launches must support the 4G standard. Thus far, Windows Phone 7, on which Nokia is standardizing in the United States, doesn't support LTE and, therefore, Verizon has shown little interest.
When asked about Windows Phone's lack of market success thus far and if LTE was partially to blame, Weber chose his words carefully.
"I don't know if I can talk about what's caused the results to date on it. I think there's a lot of things that go into that," Weber said. "I think you've got to have great hardware, and obviously Nokia brings some very innovative hardware. I think obviously the LTE support helps. [It's] building the ecosystem, so Windows is 50,000 apps and they're adding a significant amount on a daily and weekly basis--all of those things combined. I feel like we've got an innovative set of products."
That is a pretty long non-answer. Without insulting or attacking Microsoft's other Windows Phone partners, he simply said Nokia has its own way to innovate and that will be its strategy.
He was also asked about second-tier carriers. He would only go so far as to say that Nokia wants multiple partnerships. Since Nokia wants to give each U.S. carrier it works with a unique offering, I would think it is putting most of its efforts on finding a solution for Verizon that Big Red will want to get behind.
For now, we'll have to be content with the 710 and 900. There are rumors the 710 will make its way to Verizon, but that isn't going to be a blockbuster launch. For that, Nokia needs to get an LTE device ready and price it competitively, but not as an entry-level phone.
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