Nokia Promises Exclusive Phones To U.S. Carriers - InformationWeek

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1/11/2012
12:06 AM
Ed Hansberry
Ed Hansberry
Commentary
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Nokia Promises Exclusive Phones To U.S. Carriers

Will unique devices appease carriers and change Nokia's Microsoft Phone fortunes?

Nokia's new Lumia line, which runs Windows Phone 7, started rolling out late last year with the 800 in European markets. The 710 launched on T-Mobile Wednesday and the 900 will be at AT&T later this year. In an effort to make inroads back into the U.S. market, Nokia is committed to providing unique phones to each of the carriers. Will this be enough to give Windows Phone 7 the traction it needs?

In speaking to FierceWireless, Chris Weber, Nokia's president for the North American market, said: "The most important thing we can do in the U.S. market is bring exclusive devices and opportunities to each of the carriers. Doing that exclusivity, and giving them something unique, allows us to get great carrier support."

The big question is: What is going on with Verizon? It was recently reported that Big Red confirmed its early December pronouncement that it would carry no more Windows Phones (and thus Nokia devices) without LTE support. But in late December we learned that Nokia has several LTE devices coming out in the first half of this year. It seems, though, that they will all be on AT&T's network, because Verizon turned down the opportunity to carry them. However, reports say the Lumia 710 is coming to Verizon by April of this year.

We'll have to wait and see what Nokia does to promote its phones. Even though the company hasn't had a big presence in the U.S. recently, it is still one of the most well-known brands in the technology world. It will rollout a marketing campaign for the Lumia 710 on T-Mobile and offer a $50 rebate, bringing the phone's price down to $50 with a two-year contract. While it's too early to know pricing on the 900, I'm sure Nokia will be just as aggressive in marketing for AT&T.

Will it be enough, though, to turn both Nokia's and Windows Phone's fortunes around? We should have a good idea how well it is working by this summer.

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