T-Mobile announces Nokia Lumia 521 coming in May, available in Walmart

T-Mobile seems to be stoking the fires of their Windows Phone fans as the Lumia 521, their “custom” variant of the entry-level Lumia 520, is evidently nearing release.

In a tersely worded press release, T-Mobile announced that the phone will be coming in May and it will be available at Walmart, Microsoft Stores and of course T-Mobile locations for purchase. No pricing nor exact release date was given, but they will be forthcoming soon.

T-Mobile Nokia Lumia 521

Announced in February, he Lumia 521 sports a 4” IPS LCD, 512MB of RAM and a 1GHz dual-core CPU with Windows Phone 8. Its sibling, the Lumia 520, runs for less than $200 off contract meaning we can’t imagine this phone will be price too much higher. While not the power phone that some Windows Phone users want, it should go a long way in helping to gain market share for Microsoft.

See our unboxing and first impressions with the Lumia 520 to get an idea of what the 521 will be like.

Later this summer, T-Mobile is expected to get the Nokia ‘Catwalk’, their first high-end Nokia Windows Phone featuring new, lighter and thinner construction.

Daniel Rubino

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.

  • Who gives a crap??? Tmobile needs a high end W8 Bad..... Not another low end.
  • You're speaking for yourself here. The world of smartphones is way more than high-end, high profile phones. There's a reason why Android and Nokia are focusing on the "next billion". To dismiss that is to truly misunderstand the market.
  • But but... It's not octocore!!1!!1!1!!!
  • Lol! Someone mentioned a little while back that they needed a phone with 300+GB, and I was speechless! LOL.... But I guess everyone has different needs.
  • You were right to speechless! :p  To him good luck with that!  :p  I'm waiting on my 500GB, Rotary Drive Phone.
  • +1, lol!!
  • Lmao
  • I like to have alot of storage on my phone. But that is pretty excessive. But if there is a want out there, I don't see why not offer it
  • The same reason OEMs have all but killed of the horizontal slider. Not enough want to make a difference apparently.
    I mostly just wanted to say I miss my Touch Pro2 :'(
  • I remember the Sidekick community was HUGE before T mobile killed it with the Sidekick 4G running android! People hated it! It was huge among the deaf and hard of hearing community (had many exclusive features that accommodated this wonderful community). It had so much potential then out of nowhere, Microsoft pulled the data support for it, and now its a forgotten memory...The Sidekicks had both horizontal sliders and swivels...they were pretty cool! :)
  • My computer is dual core and i playing crysis 3. What can i do with 8 core on s4?? Is there any programs?? Games??
  • I firmly believe that the cores race died on the PC for a reason.  Intel and AMD raced to dual, tripple, quad, hexa, and even Octo.  But in the end they have settled on dual/quad configurations.  After quad core you really do hit a point of diminishing returns as 99% of software is not built to take advantage of multiple cores.  There is only so much multitasking one can do.
  • Yeah I have a hexa-core and the only programs that use all six cores are video and graphic rendering programs as well as some files that I convert depending on the format. So imo anything really doesn't more than 4 cores. Besides with process shrinks and efficiency improvements 4 cores should be enough for now.
  • not to be that guy...the international S4 does not have a "true" octacore...more like a dual quad core.  -just like every other device.  the remaining cores will not be active unless they are utilized.  -which btw, is highly irrelevant to this day and age as usually most mobile software and OS's don't need to utilize every core available.  waste....such a pity.  good thing is, the S4 here in the US WILL NOT have the Exynos 5 dual quad. but will in fact have Snapdragon S600. ---so anyone in the US who goes and buy's the S4 thinking they have the Exynos 5, will sadly be disappointed.  
  • ....the Science of Business...
  • Android dominates because of low end phones on all carriers
  • What's the #1 selling Android?
    What's the #1 selling W8?
    I guarantee you there not low end. So I'd have to say the numbers will show I'm in the majority.
  • Let's see the proof on Android. WP isn't valid, since there have been few options for low-end devices and they weren't available in markets where they would make the most impact.  While Android has had low-priced options for years.  Provide international numbers, including in and out of contract sales.
    Good luck.  pfft.
  • #1 selling device and #1 selling category are two different things. TMo could sell 500,000 Galaxy S4 devices this quarter, making it the highest selling device, but sell 3 million low end Android devices combined that cost them pennies to purchase in bulk. I guarantee you that TMo would prefer the selling 3 million low end devices, putting you in the minortiy.
    Which would you prefer in furthering the adoption rate of the WP OS? 200,000 hypothectical Lumia 921's sold or 850,000 Lumia 521's? I'd prefer both but in the absence of this made up 921, I'd like for TMo to push that 521 as free with a new plan or $50 pre-paid. When a TMo sales man puts the 521 up against a free LG, Kyocera or Samsung or Pantech, it will destroy it.
  • agreed 100%
  • No, Dan, he is speaking from a US POV only.  The rest of the world would say otherwise... The US is so out of touch with the mobile world that it makes me shocked that I am a American.   Low end phones outsell high end phones by a 3:1 ratio.  HOWEVER, the 521 makes sense on T-Mobile as they have that new no-contract - don't kill yourself plans now...thus making phone prices higher as subsidies are nonexistant...therefore making low end phones easier to pay for without losing a kidney to get a phone. ^Did I get that right?  Anywho, I would pay 190$ upfront to have the 521.   I'm on AT&T locked in a two year contract with a WP7.x device, but if the 521 came over here, I would seriously buy it. 
  • Sounds good to me. I want a spare phone as a media only device. I could sync my Zun.....XBOX Music pass to it.
  • Another low end device? Sheesh......
  • This is the first in the states. The 8s is almost low-end.
  • Look at that phone. That is attractive and extremely cheap. Money in their pockets, and a better reputation for WP.
  • I care! I have been planning this for my son's birthday gift...perfect timing! Most children don't need a $500-600 phone...so I'm excited!
  • Nicee! Happy birthday for your son, Gotta love some Windows Phone!
  • I agree!  This will be my fiancee's first smartphone!
  • Yeah for every 920 that sells. 3x as many 520/620 sell.
  • Not according to the recent adDuplex numbers.
  • 520 went on sale literally last week (720 three days ago) and the 620 is still rolling out to carriers, so it's a bit hard to judge at this point compared to the 920.
  • The 920 is selling well enough to be the no1 WP8 device, and thats with its higher price. The lower priced ones will catch up but with the 920 doing so well against current low priced WP's I still think it will be the top selling device overall when the current low-enders hit the market fully. And I have to say with devices like the SG4 expected to sell millions I dont see why we cant expect the top WP device to be the best selling.
  • The ad duplex numbers can't be relevant if you're comparing a phone that was released last year to a phone that's just been released...
  • Plus those are ads from apps, are all users dling apps?
  • a very good point...low end phone users may not be ideal candidates for downloading apps either especially the "next billion"
  • Plus there are plenty of apps especially non-US apps that does not use AdDuplex.
  • I wish Nokia would make a 4 inch phone with a power gut and pureview cam
  • +1. I use the 810. Things a brick. A lovely brick but still too thick and a little on the big screen size for what I want. I had to test the new z10 berry. Thing is the perfect size. (z10 was ok. Missed my live tiles. I will say its keyboard is awesome).
  • Hmm... I too have the Lumia 810 and don't find it to be thick, at least not with its normal cover. It's a little thick with the cyan charging shell, but not with the regular one IMO. *shrugs*
  • I use that shell. Ha.
  • You have to wonder why they didn't pick up the 620, but I still think the 521 on T-Mobile will sell very well.
  • Yeah, my preference would have been for a "621" with T-Mobile 3G but I guess price is what drove the decision.
  • Not even.. Its just like $50 more, and that will give you a lot more ffc,nfc,flash.
  • I think they are looking for something at really low price range,, about $140 would be ideal to compete with prism and concord.. 621 would've been closer to a $240 price range and would struggle against an L9, mytouch, or galaxy exhibit. As a tmo rep, I'm really excited for this to get into customers hands.
  • Agree. They want something to replace the 710s that were sold. That thing was perfectly proved for prepaid when it came out. Sold a ton. Postpaid can just grab the 810 or 8x instead.
  • I would love to see this sell in T-mobile, but that just depends on the salesperson. Majority of the salespersons, especially the geeky ones, will drive the customers to an Android device. I think that this is another hurdle that MS or even Nokia needs to contend with. I've seen it multiple times that the salesperson will not even bring a customer to the windows phone section of their store. The ones that wonders in the section, well, they will hear an earful of negativity about Windows Phone.
  • This is true.  I have been to T-Mobile stores and the reps don't even pretend to like Windows Phone.  All they know how to do is push Android.
  • Haven't come into my store then.. But honestly, out of a 100 reps in a given market only 15 are windows phone users and absolutely love it. The rest won't give it a chance and don't know how to use a windows phone, so they try to sell what they know. Personally I'm a big Xbox gamer and that's what drove excitement in the platform for me from day 1 (I had an HD7 a few weeks before launch), then i had the radar, then the Lumia 810 and now the 8x (still prefer the Lumia).. Maybe one day i can send Daniel a list of the TMO windows phone gurus and he can post what stores we work at around the nation so you all know where to go
  • Serious major flaw in T-Mobile's rep w/ me. Call me a loser but I just enjoy going into the stores and shaming these clowns on their embarrassing lack of knowledge...poor kids, maybe I shouldn't pick on them. =P
  • Good one to come on time. Hope TMO can market it better...
  • Any word on color availability for the 521? Is it only a radio difference such that it could take any 520 shell? Bummer with the 810 is color choice.
  • T-Mobile offers a cyan OEM battery cover for the Lumia 810. I wish they offered even more colors but the blue backing looks great.
  • Yeah, I grabbed the cyan too. Was hoping for red and white.
  • There is a light grey one on eBay if that floats your boat.
  • I was looking to get the cyan back but T-Mobile shows it as out of stock. Nokia and Microsoft don't even show it on their online stores. Looks like the only chance you really have is catching them on Ebay.
  • Sometimes you can find them online with T-mo.  But I purchased mine from my local T-mo corporate store.  Call and ask them. 
  • This phone will do well on TMO considering their new non-contract stance.  People will be able to buy this phone off-contract and not have to take out a loan.  The average user will embrace the quality and price!
  • I was thinking the same thing...and they don't even charge interest on their phones. Once you pay it off, that's it. The $400+phones are like $20 a month for almost 2 yrs, so this one will be less than $10 a month. You'll be able to get the phone and plan for $60 a month with data included! That's a pretty sweet deal to me!
  • I agree, having these lower priced phones will really help WP to gain market share.
  • Glad to see T-Mobile get some more WP love.
  • Too bad that TMO-US wson't sell the SGH-T899M as it looks like it was built exactly to their network specs. 
  • This model would have been great for me. I upgraded to the Lumia 810 from the 710 because I wanted SD storage, but prefer the smaller form factor of the 710, especially as a workout buddy. The 521 is the best of both worlds. 
  • can anyone point to me what are the differences between 521 and 520?
    btw, good thing for nokia to release cheap phone like this. in a market full of un-stable, sluggish android device, this phone really stand out with it design and smoothness of the system
  • I would guess the only difference is that the 521 has the 1700 AWS bands T-Mobile uses for their 4G.
  • The low end devices help with market share & the platforms positions versus Apple and Google as well as Blackberry and yes Blackberry is still a threat
  • I hope you don't mean with the Z10......It's a horrible looking phone!
  • This budget phone is great for their budget service.  Well done Tmo.
  • This is huge. Android is basically unopposed at the big box retailers like Walmart and Target. Next step is getting some "pay as you go" WP devices in stores.
  • According to a blog post, Ting has announced that WP8 devices will be coming to their service:
    What about Windows Phone 8 devices?
    They’re definitely coming. As soon as we have a clear timeframe, we’ll share it.
    For me, Ting's pricing structure is the most straightforward and fair. Pay for what you use and nothing more. No fees for going over a preset amount of data/talk/SMS, no fees for hotspotting, no fees for tethering, etc. Yes, this is built on the Sprint network. Yes, this is not the best network for most people. And yes, they are not the most WP8 friendly carrier out there. Still, this is a step in the right direction. Ting is by far the best pay as you go option (assuming you are okay with the aforementioned pitfalls).
  • You're right on the money. If this can come in at a lower price than the LG, Pantech and other low-end Android devices, it should sell at a high rate. A PAYG W8P device would be killer for the platform.
  • Even with these low specs, WP will still run smoother than most Android phones out there. Glad they are offering inexpensive options for customers because that is where much if the growth came for android phones. Hopefully this helps grow the platform. :)
  • I think the 720 would sell like hotcakes if it were in the US. Remember, Tmo is getting rid of contracts. This will be a great off contract phone for a first time smartphone customer.
  • This is a great phone for kids, I was planning on giving my son the 710 that I'm using right now when I upgrade this summer, but for $200 I'll get him this when it's released. The market for phones priced in this range is huge. And I can't wait for the catwalk, I envy my friends with their 920's.
  • Nokia is doing great. Windows Phone has seen a small breakthrough and so far new adopters are very positive about WP. And between the 520, 620 and 720 I think Nokia has a great line-up that wil benefit from this word of mouth. These are the kind of devices that will can sell tens of millions of units. Nokia might not make a lot of profit on each unit sold but this is how Android also gained its marketshare. This will create a respectable markethshare for WP which in turn will bring developers to the platform which in turn will lead to more interest from power-users and more high-end sales.
  • Technically the 810 is mid range, this will be low end, so hopefully they add a high end phone to the mix as well. It's only right.
  • IT's good to see Nokia fighting hard on the low-end part of the market. But why not take it step further and offer its low end devices on regional carriers such as Boost Mobile, MetroPCS, Clear, and others? MetroPCS here in NYC Is extremely famous and a lot of people subscribe to them because of its low cost, no contract, ok service model. All these smaller carriers offer low and even high end Android phones, including even the Galaxy S3. Windows Phone and Nokia would do well to also court these carriers and expand their reach even further. Catering to the larger carriers only is not the solution.
  • T-Mobile is merging with metro pcs.
    and for me this option is awesome. I saw a vid of the 620 vs 920 and the performance difference is minimal, only drastic for games and I don't care for games. I wishthere was a 621 but I'm a prepaid guy $30 plan and a 200 to 250 off contract phone would sell like hotcakes despite the limited hardware like camera, no flash. the added benefit would also be low end android phones are lag crazy, but this phone performs most tasks like a champ
  • Same problem w/Sprint for Metro. They are on CDMA, and that won't work with Nokia. HTC and/or SSamsung would have to provide the WP8 phones. Hopefully the merger w/ T-mo happens, so we can get somE WP8!
  • Well, I'll wait for the catwalk then
  • Me too.
  • If this is under $200, I'll probably buy it for my home phone.
  • This is very good news --  Remember today's Nokia 521 user is tomorrow's Lumia 920 type user... These low-cost devices should be launched on each and every US carrier. Carrier shelf visibility is the best form of marketing what Windows Phone needs to succeed.
  • Anyone think it's strange that the phone doesn't at least have a basic LED flash?  When I think of Windows Phones I think of great cameras.  Even my old Lumia 710 holds it's own but it does have a flash.  It's too bad because I like this phone and would love to have a cheap off contract Windows Phone 8 in this price range but the lack of flash makes me think twice.
  • You gotta draw the line somewhere.
  • Is it May yet?