Report: Nokia paying AT&T for exclusive employee use of the Lumia 900
We've heard numerous times that the Nokia Lumia 900 will be a "hero" device for AT&T, a term that is unfamiliar for many who are not in the business of smartphones. Here, the usage refers to AT&T promoting the Lumia 900 on the level of the Apple iPhone meaning we should expect a very intensive media campaign for the flagship Nokia device and it taking center stage on one of the largest carriers in the US.
One way to do that is to put the phone in the hands of those on the front lines -- the sales reps at the AT&T stores. More information has rolled in over the last few hours since we broke the April 9th street date for the 900. First, we know that the phones started arriving at AT&T stores over the last two days and that employee training on the Windows Phone OS (and this specific hardware) will take place on March 26th, April 6th and 7th at those outlets.
Next is the big news: AT&T has designated the Nokia Lumia 900 for 'Company Use' meaning all Front Seller employees are eligible to receive the phone at no cost. The trade off is though is that employees have to turn in their current 'Company Use' phones, namely the iPhone and certain Android devices.
You read that right: Nokia is paying, we hear up to $25 million, for AT&T employees to exclusively use the Lumia 900 instead of the iPhone and Android. Nokia is expecting more than 80% of employees to be using their flagship Windows Phone for participation in the CU program (employees can opt to use any phone they want at a discount, but CU phones are provided for free), which should go a long way in convincing those employees the merits of the OS, resulting in positive word of mouth and high sales.
So why is AT&T so keen on promoting Windows Phone, specifically the Nokia Lumia 900? Sure, there is money involved but in addition but we're told that the feeling at AT&T is that the company is trying to get away from being "the iPhone carrier" and are looking to differentiate their lineup from their competition. The Lumia 900 is a device they can get behind to do that -- not just because of the financial incentive, but because this phone represents a real chance for the fledgling OS to shine. That should sit well with many of you who are worried about the fate of Microsoft's mobile OS.
Oh and before we close out, we're also told that the HTC TITAN and Samsung Focus S are to be put on the End of Life (EOL) list, meaning their future availability will be phased out from current inventory without being replenished. (Well, there had to be some bad news, right?)
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Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.
When WPCentral posted about the Lumia 900 being in stores now, I didn't even read the article, just the title and ran out to who I thought would have it, the Microsoft Store... HAHA would have helped if I read the article since they didn't have them yet. They did start this today though. :)
So in the Microsoft Store I read the article and went around the block to the closet AT&T store. They didn't have them (yet) but I can confirm the employee training on March 26th since the assistant manager showed me the screen while looking for information on the release date.
So I left there and went to another AT&T store and they had the 900! I got to mess around with one and snapped this picture. They received 6 or 8 of them I think they said and while talking to the girl that let me mess with her Lumia 900 I can see three other employees playing with there’s snapping pictures of themselves laughing and having a good time with it.
The girl did tell me that she had to give up her Android company phone to receive the Lumia 900 but she seemed pretty happy about it. She liked how she had Xbox on the 900 and thought the Xbox games where really good.
She did tell me that she also has a personal phone that's an iPhone but when I told her about the promotion going on at the Microsoft Store, she was thinking of taking her iPhone in and getting a free WP7 from the challenge.
So yeah, this is finally going down and after messing with the Lumia 900, I'm sold!
Same thing here.
Plus. Being the most misunderstood OS out there, this will get them using and talking about WP.
This is some of THE BEST money Nokia could have spent on advertising!
Too bad about the Samsung Focus S. I'm using it unlocked on T-Mobile (at 2G speeds) and still like it more than the HD7.
/I really think At&t only wants LTE phones from here on
That's completly approprieted here !!
But that's a real god strategy... Nokia !!!
Good things come to those who wait!
If the XDA community figures out how to unlock the phone then unbranding sounds like what I'll be doing, especially if it means tethering will start working.
The Radar & 710 are nice and all, But... the Titan & Focus S are alot nicer.
It will be nice to walk into a store and have someone say "You don't want an Android, you want this" and brandishes the sexy 900. :)
Pretty alarming given that these devices arent even a year old and have essentially identicle specs to the Lumia phones.
Wonder if EOL includes the Focus Flash has well..
BTW - Just stopped into an AT&T store in the north Dallas/Fort Worth area and they didn't have a clue.
Apple releases their updates directly, bypassing the carrier. I wish MS would do the same and stop using the useless carriers who don't care because they already have your money. Android users are on the same boat, albeit carriers release Android updates more frequently, probably because more people use it.
Too bad for me - I was really looking forward to the Nokia 900.