Telco Subsidies in Australia, U.S. for Lumia 920 Bolster Nokia’s Recovery Efforts

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By Erik Pineda | November 7, 2012 3:18 PM EST

Australia and the United States thanks to giant telcos opting to support new Windows-powered smartphones that the mobile phone maker said will begin rolling out early November.

The move means the fresh line of Nokia gadgets - the Lumia 920 and the Lumia 820 - will be heavily subsidised by service providers hoping to attract as many buyers as possible and collect profits later on the back of 2-year contract packages.

Nokia's Windows phones have become more affordable, analysts said, and should prod buyers to take the plunge, especially those wanting to test drive Microsoft's Windows Phone 8, which is the mobile version of the recently unleashed Windows 8 operating system.

Essentially, failure of Nokia to turn its latest handset lines into a buyers-magnet now hinges on the allure of WP8, which early reviewers said appear at par with the iOS and Android phone systems.

But one thing that could turn-off consumers from getting the Lumia, or other branded Windows phones, is the shallow collection of Windows apps, which will be pitted to the over a million applications jointly-found in the Apple and Google universe.

Setting that aside for now, Nokia is hoping that support from giant telcos would trigger sustained ringing on its cash register while praying at the same time that Windows developers would soon fill up the ecosystem with as many apps as possible.

In Australia, Telstra Corporation has indicated as early as last week that it will offer at least the Lumia 920 at prices that range between $60 and $130. For the budget-conscious subscribers, the Lumia deal will entail monthly starting rate of $5. The gadget is offered free for those availing of Telstra plans beginning at $80.

All packages come with lock-in period of 24 months, Telstra said

The mark downs are considered significant as the Lumia 920's suggested retail price is around $820 without contract obligations.

For Americans, AT&T will exclusively retail the new Nokia handsets, with the Lumia 820 priced at $US50 and the Lumia 920 at $US100, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

The deal with AT&T, regarded as the second biggest communications service provider in the U.S., should give more legs for Nokia to race with rival gadgets powered by iOS, Android and other Windows-branded phones, analysts said.

The only missing link for the Finnish firm at the moment is the Euro sphere, where mobile phones are normally deployed without SIM. The lack of telco subsidies leave Nokia products, for instance, to retail at set sticker price.

According to blog site The Droid Guy, the Lumia 920 will sell as much as 650 euro (or about $840) in selected European markets, high numbers that are enough for consumers to quickly look the other way.

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