AT&T Considers Nokia Windows Phone

by Matt Klassen on November 18, 2011

For Nokia, a company that has notably been unable to break into the competitive American mobile market, having AT&T at least interested in adding one of the Finnish company’s new Windows driven smartphones to its catalogue is a victory, if only of the moral variety.                   

To that end, an executive at AT&T has confirmed that the country’s second largest wireless carrier is in negotiations with Nokia to carry at least of the company’s new cadre of Windows phones set for release early next year.

But even with AT&T on board, will Nokia finally be able to achieve the success in the American market that has eluded it for so long? Truthfully, if Nokia is to finally make a dent in the smartphone market its going to take more than a new OS on a flashy phone—since we’ve already seen that several times before—but a complete change in attitude from the often aloof mobile device manufacturer.

There’s little question that such a distribution agreement with AT&T would be a huge boon to Nokia, a company that has notably struggled to compete in the modern smartphone market. In fact, since 2007 when Apple released its first iPhone, Nokia has seen its total market share drop from 40 percent to less than 20 percent in this most recent quarter.

If anyone was wondering why AT&T would want to carry a phone from such a historically unpopular brand, there are good reasons for that as well. For one, Nokia is in a vulnerable state, trying to create some magic in a mobile market that so far it has only created failure. This means that unlike Apple’s iPhone, for instance, the subsidies will be far less for AT&T, meaning that it likely won’t have to pay Nokia what it pays Apple to carry the former’s new Windows phones.

This leads me to my second point, the initial attraction of a new mobile OS. When it releases its new catalogue of Windows driven smartphones, Nokia will be among the first established manufacturers to back Microsoft’s mobile OS, meaning that it will likely garner attention simply by being new: New phone plus new OS plus low licensing fees means a huge win for AT&T.

For Nokia to really succeed in the American market, however, it’s going to take more than a Windows phone; it’s going to take a complete rethink of its marketing strategy and overall attitude. For years now Nokia has considered itself in a position to dictate to the market, with the company often creating one phone and pushing it on carriers across the globe.

While such a strategy may fly in burgeoning mobile markets the world over, it doesn’t work in America, where consumers look for unique and customized phones that set them apart from the mobile rank-and-file. Sure Nokia may look at Apple’s iPhone and argue that it employs the same ol’ Nokia strategy, but alas, Nokia is no Apple…and likely never will be.

What I’m sure Nokia is hearing from AT&T as the negotiations for carrying the former’s new Windows smartphone continue, is that it has to offer AT&T something special, some sort of modified version of its Lumia 800 smartphone coupled with a huge marketing splash designed to revive Nokia’s faded brand. Now the question remains, will Nokia be humble enough to accept AT&T demands?

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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