Nokia discussing Windows Phone 8 plans with carriers

Nokia is set to market their first Windows Phone 8 hardware differently, according to a report by the Financial Times. The manufacturer will be entering into partnerships with a handful of EU carriers to exclusively launch their next generation Windows Phone. The newspaper states the company has already entered into talks with a number of operators including France Telecom.

Nokia has traditionally relied on flooding the market with a number of mobile devices in the hope of getting them in the hands of as many consumers as possible. This may well be scrapped for a more exclusive release-based strategy with handpicked partners, much like the deal established with AT&T in the US, or perhaps we could be seeing devices specifically tailored for different carriers with differentiating features and branding?

The relationships will offer selected operators a financial stake in the success of the range, which Nokia hopes will incentivise them to give the devices as much support as possible. Whilst talks are well underway, a deal has not yet been finalised. Nokia could re-think their marketing strategy and return plans to the drawing board for refinement. The potential deals could involve joint procurement initiative with Deutsche Telekom, according to an informed source. 

The sales of Nokia's Lumia range of Windows Phone have proven to be better than expected, but to create a dent in the marketshare dominance of both Android and the iPhone, Microsoft and OEM partners are going to have to push Windows Phone harder. As we've seen in the past, it's mainly up to Nokia to work hard and spend on marketing not only their hardware, but the Windows Phone platform as a whole. It's unfortunate the likes of HTC and Samsung are unwilling to throw their weight behind Windows Phone as much.

What do you think about Nokia's potential change of plans? Do you believe they're doing enough at the present time? Where are other Microsoft partners, and what feedback would you provide to them?

Source: Financial Times

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds is Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

  • sounds good to me
  • I really hate that exclusive branding stuff.... probably why I'm off contract.
    I prefer general availability of the same stuff, everywhere.
  • I agree if we can get the carriers to compete with the plans and not phones. It would be better for us
  • It sure is funny that carriers don't get to brand the iPhone. There is no difference because all manufacturers make their hardware just like Apple, so why should they have to let carriers brand their phones?
  • Each manufacturer negotiates this with the carriers. The more desirable the product the more leverage the manufacturer has, the less desirable the more leverage the carrier has. It's interesting to note that Samsung, with its hot product lineup, appears to be able to exert more control over carriers with their latest products.
  • +1
  • The more desirable the product the more leverage the manufacturer has, the less desirable the more leverage the carrier has.
  • Same for me, I bought my last on -contract phone a long time ago. The carrier branding is just annoying and useless.
  • The problems with these carrier exclusives is it creates haves and have nots.  The 900 launch was horrid in my opinion because T-Mobile never got the phone and neither did Verizon.  And I'm sorry but the amount of promotion ATT did does not rise to the level of an exclusive partner.
  • Well, I think Verizon got cold feet after they may have heard that any current gen devices won't get Windows Phone 8 (I'm not starting yet another argument from the consumer side; I have no problems with the path MS is taking with WP8.)  Besides, we KNOW that Verizon said they wouldn't carry another Windows Phone device unless it had LTE.
    And I agree with you about the AT&T "Hero Status" for the Lumia 900.  I haven't seen an AT&T commercial about the Lumia 900 since it was first released.  I see small banners in stores, and that's about it.  You still see the dedicated iFruit section, and then all of the Slutdroid devices plastered on the other wall.
  • Verizon didn't know shit about the no upgrade until it was announced.  They had already said weeks ahead of that announcement that they were skipping until WP8. 
  • I just need a new wp8 in my hands asap as my HTC surround doesn't get updates anymore on telus cause its discontinued :(
  • I got my Surround from AT&T, what are updates?
  • My Focus wonders the same thing ;-)
  • Wrong strategy, general availability would allow Nokia to reach a wider audience. Nokia should take charge of it's destiny
  • Stupid idea
  • man i hope not! just a way to make other OEM's not want to sale WP any more.  this would suck,  other OEM's are already struggling and if nokia's rumor of coming out 1 month early  with WP8 and now being exclusive on more carriers would only hurt other EOM's sales an reduce the amount of WP sold in general!!! I wish they realized that they need to compete with Android and Iphone before they start Competing between them self’s ( other OEM's on same OS)  
  • Great idea since Sammy and HTC are doing such heavy lifting for WP anyways....;) sarcasm off...
  • the only reason NOKIA is doing all this is because of the 7billion MS gave them.... im sure if MS gave 7billion to HTC and Sammy we would see them do WAY MROE!  Nokia would have been the next PALM/HP with otu MS.. DEAD!
     WP is NOT worth the investment into right now (with out free $$ ) so other OEM's could just say F** it and let Nokia have it and drop WP.
  • 7 million?  And the source link for this claim? 
    Also, NO ONE except Microsoft and Nokia know the exact details of the partnership.
  •  I cant find the exact number  , but im finding mix result that range from 250million to 7billion (depending on site)  ether way its ALLOT of cash that other OEM's dint get. how else do you think a company 100% in the RED  and that have lost more then 50% shares in the last 6month can afford these partnership.( AT&T , EA and now others..)  exclusive deals cost MILLIONS with RTM's. thanks to MS's $$$$.  
  • Microsoft did give Samsung funding. The announce concerning funding to market WP exclusively mentioned several millions of dollars going to Nokia and Samsung. The one I don't remember being mentioned was HTC
  • You do realize that Nokia is competing with Apple, Android, and any OEM that makes Android. They are kind of on an island by themselves. I don't like the exclusive thing, but I think they can get a pass
  • You make a very good point about Nokia fighting OEMs and OSs simultaneously. No other OEM is in the same situation.
  • Good plan - for failure, as aptly demonstrated by their partnership with at&t.
  • This has the potential to blow up in their face if they aren't careful, I'm not willing to leave my unlimited data on Verizon for a phone, but I'd happily buy anything decent that comes to Verizon to replace my aging trophy. Locking hardware to carriers prevents people who want it from getting it if they don't want to switch carriers, and with WP already the outsider, adding just another hurdle for prospective buyers to clear isn't the right move...
  • Well said. Verizon has the best coverage where I live. I am out of a contract but, unless the grass is a lot greener on the other carriers, I really dont want to change. AT&T was the only close one but, if they got TMOUS, it would of taken over.
    Depends on what models hit Verizon. Think about a little. The HTC Titan 2 came out around the same time as the Lumia 900. The Titan 2 was not as Sexy but,  had a lot better specs than the L900, better camera, bigger display (almost as good, better in some ways), faster CPU, etc. 
    So if the Titan 3(fake name, guessing a WP8 device) came to Verizon and with as good specs as the new high end Nokia, I would not be disapointed in getting it.
    Dont get me wrong, I love my Trophy but, I am looking forward to a larger display and better games with xbox achievements, something that a good mid to high end WP8 device should cover for me.
    I do hope Verizon becomes a premere carrier of WP8 devices, so I am not stuck with just one model to chose from.
    You never know, Verizon clearly said they were going to support Windows Phone 8, you never know, Nokia might be the partner they open with... You never know...they do have the money and the power to make it happen.
  • Peculiar. One of the arguments for the less than overwhelming success in the U.S. that keeps coming up is that AT&T was the only partner for the 900 (with the success T-Mobile has had with the 'lowly' 710, you wonder what they might have done with a high end version, and not having an up-to-date model for WP and no Nokia WP on Verizon at all can't help Nokia or the platform). I haven't had the impression that the AT&T experience provided a model for success elsewhere.
  • I would go out on a limb and say mobile had success because their base is less wealthy and the pricepoint was a perfect fit. New phone, newish Os, high quality brand hardware, free... And Verizon told MS they wouldn't touch a non 4g phone. The only reason Att got one was because of the partnership - it was made for them. Vz doesn't take risks with their cash or MS, so no way that was going to happen.
  • Most people dont realize how much of a role carriers actually play in the success of a product. The percentage of people who allow a salesperson to practically choose their handset for them is huge. 50% or higher Id guess. If Nokia can sell large numbers to carriers, carriers will sell the phones. At least, I believe that's their plan. And look at how the carriers flocked to Android because they felt they could write their own apps. What if Nokia wrote those apps for them. Not a bad plan from the biz side in my eyes.
  • People who allow the salesperson to practically choose their handset for them - I couldn't agree more.  In fact, I think that your 50% guess is a low.
    With people that walk into a store and want a cellphone, but don't know which kind (but think playing Angry Birds is awesome!), then they'll choose the phone the salesperson recommends, if the salesperson confidently stresses it enough.  Then you'll have some other people that walk in and buy the phone that their friends have.  The salesperson might have some leeway with this, depending on the OS.  Even when someone walks into a store, asking specifically for a particular phone, the salesperson will sometimes try to talk them into getting a different phone.
    And of course, you'll get some special cases like the one I experienced.  I walked into a Mobilicity (my current cellphone carrier) store and asked for a Lumia 710.  I mistakenly stated I was an existing client that wanted to buy a phone, at full price.  The salesperson then started talking about their other Nokia - the Symbian-based Nokia 500.  I then stressed that I wanted the Lumia 710, and the salesperson said he had never heard of it.  And continued to claim he hadn't heard of it, even when I pointed out that most of the posters in and out of the store featured the Lumia 710.  He then said it wasn't in stock.  
    Getting the salesperson at the store on your side is key in getting the phone out there, especially if it is not well established in the market.  Once a client sees that a couple of his friends have a Windows Phone, he/she will be more comfortable in choosing a Windows Phone.  It's getting to that point that is the difficult part.
  • The real problem is the OEM's... If they would push as hard as Nokia you might see more awareness in WP7 and probably more sales.
  • This is why the name Lumia is connected with WP. Android IMO is connected with Verizon. And iPhones "were" connected just to ATT.
  • Boring zzzzzx
  • all phones, all carriers. No limitations. that's how the Apple does it and that's why everyone has one.
  • You mean that's how Apple is doing it now. You must have forgotten the Iphone was only on AT&T for five years. Also T-mobile is still without an Iphone, so they're not everywhere yet.
  • You're being sarcastic, right?  At&t exclusivity for a while.  T-Mobile not being a 'preferred' carrier, so Apple doesn't approve of it using T-Mobile's 2G GSM.  Not willing to make VERY MINOR adjustments to use T-Mobile's 3G, while practically redesigning the whole thing for Verizon and Sprint.  I think that is why not everyone has one, and why Apple is currently in 2nd behind Android.
  • Get into a bunch of retail stores tech sections (like apple usually has their special little booth), have Microsoft ones with tablets and ultrabooks, not only in cell phone carrier stores. This is the way to get visible by more people. With windows 8 you can appeal to a wide consumer base if you also show off your ecosystem. Show off the power and features/ease of use of win phone 8
  • I agree with that
  • Nokia should without a doubt start a war with the other OEMs and make them nervous so they start flexing some Windows Phone muscle >=]
  • Pretty sure that they already have. Looking at all the exclusive apps that Nokia is getting.
  • Exclusivity and pushing windows phone don't go together. You want to get the phone out, make it as available as possible. Personally, I'm stuck on Verizon and wouldn't have a windows phone if it weren't for the lowly HTC trophy. And yet my boss liked my phone so much he ended his contract early to get rid of his new BlackBerry.
  • The trophy can compete with a lot of phones now (under certain conditions) Can't wait for wp8. I had Verizon ended contract, switched to ATT, got Samsung focus phones, found out service was horrible where I live (less then 2 hours later) back to Verizon, ordered two free HTC trophys, glad I switched. Wish they had better actually just one more WP, I want s variety like Android has.
  • Nokia needs an upgrade plan for users that invested into lumia, to be greeted to Microsoft telling them windows phone 8 needs new hardware. But Microsoft I just invested into Nokia this year and now your saying I can't run it.. Fix this issue
  • WP8? I'm still waiting for my upgrade to WP7.5!!!
  • Really ? If there is no update for your phone (not sure what model you have) but, spend some time on XDA, you can upgrade to 7.5 manually.... or even Tango (the newest before 7.8 is released)
  • I hate the exclusivity branding of devices for carriers.  I think it really is hurting the WP market right now.  We have so few devices out there to begin with, on top of the fact that there are incompatibilities between carriers that further limit the devices you can use that it's helping to prevent the WP from coming back to where it was with WM.
    I don;t blame Nokia for wanting to get teh markets to push their products and not rely solely on the OEM to do it.  Why should Nokia be responsible for marketing their device when the OS manufacturer doesn't want to bother with it?
  • I believe they're doing alot. But they can't do everything alone. The other OEMs have to put their weight in as well.
  • Nokia needs to play the  numbers game. If I were them I would have a hybrid solution. Create 3 - 5 Nokia phones and make sure those Nokia phones are represnted on all carriers then focus on exlcusive phones to gain momentum for the brand. For example if ATT lunched the L900 and L610 at the same time it gives users alot of options. Same thing for T-mobile atleast get the 610 on there or the 800.
  • Well I think Nokia must do what Samsung is doing, a massive launch of devices around the globe with a lot of carriers involved. Plus Microsoft should do more as well, I wanna see TV ADS!!! in every channel + every country of this damn planet!
  • I think Microsoft should be going to the networks, and offering them cold hard cash incentive for each and every WP handset sold, regardless of OEM. And maybe even a financial incentive to staff? Free WP handset of their choosing for long-term staff maybe? There is a saying in business, speculate to accumulate, and whilst such a move may cost Microsoft money in the short-term (a $2billion budget is only what they are subsidising Nokia with each year), it will help get handsets into peoples hands, such as those who rely on the retailer to make the decision for them regarding which phone to choose, and this in the long-term, will prove successful (assuming Microsoft dont fook up WP8 and manage to get the top apps onto the platform). Which is also a key point, pay developers to have their apps on the platform, the key apps that are not already there and should be, the popular apps from other platforms. This strategy has to got to bode well for better future success than relying solely on Nokia to market and promote the platform, and the watching them go with exclusive deals, to which as little as 10% of consumers may have access to. I cringed at the phones4u exclusives on the UK, it was little wonder they were not getting handsets into hands. If anyone can bankroll such a strategy, it is Microsoft, and it would be a drop in the ocean compared to the costs of the platform already incurrred, and in relation to the revenue success would bring.
  • I don't like this at all. I haven't bought carrier branded phones for quite a while now and I don't have and y plans to reverse that decision. I pay less overall that way and get unlocked, unbranded phones. So if Nokia really wants to keep me from buying more of their phones, carrier exclusive distribution is the way to go. I have bought a Nokia 500, a N9 and a Lumia 800 since October 2011. And I plan to buy a 808 as soon as the price drops somewhat. I definitely wanted to buy a Nokia WP8 phone, but obviously they might not let me do that. :-(
  • All the best to NOKIA & MiCROSOFT. Yes, NoKia is going in the the right direction. I know the NOKIA is facing hard time NOW. But for being number one again they have to fight little more.
  • When Nokia is lobbying with carriers.. I am suspecting another set of mediocre phones are on the way!!
    MS with Windows Phone and Nokia with hardware have never tried for the #1 spot. Very sad!
  • The more desirable the product the more leverage the manufacturer has, the less desirable the more leverage the carrier has. <a title="Taxi Orlando " href="">Taxi Orlando </a>  
  • When Nokia is lobbying with carriers.. I am suspecting another set of mediocre phones are on the way!!
      <a title="Taxi Orlando " href="">Taxi Orlando </a>