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  (Source: South Africa World Cup Blog)
"No one comes into the store and asks for a Windows phone." -- Euro executive

It's been a wild ride for Nokia Oyj.'s (HEL:NOK1V) first Windows Phone super-phone, the Lumia 900 LTE.  The last week has brought strong salesembarrassing bugs, and even a bit of respect from the American market.

I. Sampling the Hatorade

But Reuters reports that the increasing Nokia Lumia Windows Phone buzz is met with icy disdain across the pond in the UK.  One of Europe's top markets, UK carriers appear to be giving up on Nokia's Lumia, after hardly giving it a chance to shine.

An executive at a European telecom who had been selling the Lumia 710 and 800 complained, "No one comes into the store and asks for a Windows phone.  Nokia have given themselves a double challenge: to restore their credibility in terms of making hardware smartphones and succeed with the Microsoft Windows operating system, which lags in the market."

The executive is quoted as praising Windows Phone for its "tons of cool" features, but then throws the OS under the bus, stating, "If the Lumia with the same hardware came with Android in it and not Windows, it would be much easier to sell."

The curious thing with the European carriers is that they claim to be frustrated with Google Inc.'s (GOOG) Android legion and with the pricey iPhone from Apple, Inc. (AAPL) -- a device that may never turn a profit for carriers.  But when it comes to selling the Lumia's Reuters reports that the carriers are making hardly any effort.  Nokia's Windows Phones are tucked away in unseen corners and clerks peddle Apple iPhones and Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KS:005930) Galaxy phones on smartphone shoppers.

It's a tale of two continents.   In Europe, carriers are still eagerly ponying up the 600 to 700 euros (~$800 to $900 USD) to sell iPhones to customers, despite the fact that they may never turn a profit on the device.  Even Samsung phones are fetching an impressive 300 to 500 euros (~$400 and $650 USD) from the EU carriers.

Meanwhile, U.S. carriers appear to be adopting a different philosophy.  Encouraged by discounted handsets from Nokia and Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), the carriers are finally giving the platform a chance and pitching it to customers.  AT&T reports strong sales of the Lumia 900 LTE, which is prominently featured in nearly every U.S. store.  T-Mobile USA -- a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom AG (ETR:DTE) reported that the Lumia 710, an entry-level Nokia Windows Phone, as among its most popular handsets.

II. Some Say Lower the Price; Others Say It's Hopeless

Richard Windsor, global technology specialist at investment bank Nomura predicted Nokia Lumia phones to take in 300 Euros on average.  Their actual haul is about 220 euros on average.  Yet, carriers seem to have no interest in these bargain devices in Europe and aren't even trying to sell them to customers.

The carriers seem to contradict each other.  One executive is quoted as saying, "If they could lower the price we think they could sell more. It might be worth making it a bit of a loss leader to get it out of the door. It's not rocket science."

Nokia Lumia 900 LTE
EU carriers are giving Nokia contradictory advice about how to bump sales, while reportedly putting little effort into trying to push the Lumia line. [Image Source: Nokia]

Another suggests that price is not enough.  They state, "We can open our stores to them and train our staff to sell the phones, but that's it.  Ultimately, Nokia and Windows are challengers and they either need to come to market with a really disruptive, innovative product or a huge marketing budget to create client demand. So far they have done neither."

The perplexing situation has to be particular frustrating for Nokia who is seeing accelerating U.S. sales, but has been largely scorned in its home continent.  If there's one thing illustrated by all the European criticism surrounding the Lumias, it's that while EU carriers may complain about Apple and Samsung's profit-seeking, they really don't mind all that much or have much desire to seek out and promote alternative options.

That's bad news for Nokia and anybody who isn't named Samsung or Apple.

Source: Reuters

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RE: Jason Like Windows Phone
By bobvodka on 4/17/2012 6:38:05 PM , Rating: 2
Americans think the Lumia 900 is "cheap". It's not. In Europe and the UK they don't do the subsidized contract deal like we do as much, they buy their phones.

We don't?
I have to say as a UK contract phone user for about 10 years now this is a bit of a surprise to me because EVERY phone I've had has been a contract phone where it was either free or cheap when compares to a non-contract price.

The only phone I've ever brought outright in all that time was an HTC Diamond 2 when my phone at the time failed on me during a visit to London a few years back.

I'm currently using a free Samsung Galaxy S on a £30/month contract which expires in a few months at which point I'm considering jumping ship to a contract Lumia 900 for more than likely much the same price.

RE: Jason Like Windows Phone
By Reclaimer77 on 4/17/2012 7:43:50 PM , Rating: 2
I've heard like 20+ Europeans and UK people make comments about how "they don't do contracts, they buy the phone" when talking about the "flawed" American cellular system. So which is it? You guys need to get your act together, come up with a consensus, and get back to me :)

Anyway that wasn't even the point. The point me and that executive were trying to make, is that given WP7's profitability and low consumer interest, the Lumia 900 needs to be cheaper. Period.

RE: Jason Like Windows Phone
By Kyuu on 4/17/2012 8:00:57 PM , Rating: 1
Please point me to an Android phone that is unequivocally superior to the Lumia 900 spec-wise which can be obtained for $99 or less on contract. Let's see, best one I can find is the Samsung Galaxy S2. Screen: about the same. SoC: dual-core... but it won't perform any better than the Lumia. Probably performs worse.

You can get the iPhone 4 for $99. Hm, SoC isn't any better. Screen is higher-resolution, though not necessarily higher-quality. You only get 8GB of internal NAND for that price. Hm.

Not really seeing a better deal than the Lumia 900 on the Android/iOS sides. On what planet is it overpriced?

Also, you'll notice that here, in the States, where the carriers are at least half-way paying attention to the Lumia line, they're actually doing fairly well.

RE: Jason Like Windows Phone
By Kyuu on 4/17/2012 8:07:13 PM , Rating: 2
Oh, and I forgot: no LTE on the iPhone4.

RE: Jason Like Windows Phone
By Reclaimer77 on 4/17/12, Rating: -1
RE: Jason Like Windows Phone
By Varun on 4/18/2012 1:29:07 AM , Rating: 2
The benchmarks, what are they for? Oh yeah, browsers...

And browser benchmarks REALLY show the experience of surfing. I mean, it is obvious that NO ONE ON EARTH would ever surf the web on a Galaxy Nexus when it scores a mere 1900 on Sunspider! My desktop scores 200!

Get a grip with your life, calm down a bit, and open your eyes to a world that doesn't revolve around browser benchmarks.

You know what sunspider doesn't show? When you pinch to zoom a web page on a Gingerbread phone, and the entire phone starts shaking because it is so awful, yet, even on a lowly first gen WP7, everything you do is buttery smooth.

RE: Jason Like Windows Phone
By WalksTheWalk on 4/18/2012 2:56:48 PM , Rating: 2
The reason it's $100 or less is because Nokia is subsidizing it due to the issues it's had.

I'm not a fanboy, but to your point, there are many android phones superior to the Lumia. to sue your example, the SGS2 can capture 1080p video and output HDMI, supports SD card storage, can do image and video editing/processing faster, can process higher quality games since it's GPU is faster, it has a development community with many custom ROMs, root access allows removal of carrier apps/bloat, completely customizable, etc.

Also, there are many phones I would consider better from a combined performance perspective - OS and hardware: Galaxy S2, Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy Note, One X, RAZR, RAZR Maxx...need I go on?

RE: Jason Like Windows Phone
By Reclaimer77 on 4/18/2012 10:54:23 PM , Rating: 2
Waste of time man. Now that Jobs is dead the reality distortion field has apparently moved to the WP7 camp. It's really sad that on a tech site this much rampant misinformation is being parroted by so many people. It's embarrassing.

I'm not a fanboy, but to your point, there are many android phones superior to the Lumia. to sue your example, the SGS2 can capture 1080p video and output HDMI, supports SD card storage, can do image and video editing/processing faster, can process higher quality games since it's GPU is faster, it has a development community with many custom ROMs, root access allows removal of carrier apps/bloat, completely customizable, etc.

Now that we've defeated his argument, he'll just come back with WP7 fanboi talking point #1) "specs and performance don't matter". If I had a dollar every time I've heard that this week...

I guess if I'm crazy Anandtech is crazy too:

"Ultimately the Lumia 900 doesn't really change the balance of power in the smartphone OS competition as it stands right now. Although the version number has advanced on the Lumia 900 (because of changes that needed to accommodate LTE), it's really the same Windows Phone 7.5 Mango we've seen and talked about before. If you're looking for a make or break launch that might upset the balance, wait for the Apollo update.

As it enables dual-core SoCs, the Apollo update leads to our continued plea to Microsoft: please throw better hardware at the Windows Phone platform. No company ever won by being the slowest. Windows Phone may be an extremely efficient platform (it is), but there are only good things to come from combining software efficiency with bleeding edge hardware. Microsoft has learned tremendously from Apple in this regard, but in order for Windows Phone to be more than a third runner up it needs to push the envelope just as much as Apple has been. Microsoft will eventually adopt Krait, and 28nm LTE is equally inevitable, but it would just be nice to see those things sooner rather than later on Windows Phone. At some point for a platform to be a winner, it must actually be industry leading. I suspect all of this will come as a part of Microsoft's Windows 8 strategy. Waiting is never easy."

RE: Jason Like Windows Phone
By Heidfirst on 4/17/2012 9:30:33 PM , Rating: 2
The cost price of the phone is factored into the deal - but they also hope to get you to use more chargeable services that your new phone supports that your old one doesn't.
For the vast majority of people that's probably true although there will be people who don't & may get their new phone cheaper with a new contract than simply buying it outright & swapping existing SIMs.

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