The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet's guest contributor program, which is separate from the company's news coverage.
NEW YORK (
marked January 11 as the official date it re-enters the U.S. smartphone market. It announced its entry-level smartphone powered by
latest Mango software, at a launch event co-hosted by T-Mobile Wednesday. Lumia 710, the lower-end of the two Lumia phones jointly unveiled in October, is Nokia's debut Windows Phone in the U.S and will be launched on T-Mobile's network for $49.99.
Nokia earlier announced that the company is moving away from the Symbian platform and focusing entirely on its Windows phones to win back market share from
, HTC and Samsung in the U.S. smartphone market. See our
complete analysis for Nokia stock here.
Nokia is banking on its Microsoft partnership to help it stem market share losses in the developed markets, and we will follow Nokia's progress closely, with Lumia and other Windows Phones scheduled to launch in 2012, to see how the bet pans out. As for now, we maintain a conservative stance and expect its market share to continue to decline, albeit at a less rapid pace, before stabilizing in the next few years.
Nokia Plays It Safe
In an earlier article, we talked about Nokia's lower-risk strategy in the U.S.
as it launches a low-end smartphone on the smallest of the four national carriers after the holiday season to avoid facing greater competition from the smartphone giants in the U.S. Its entry-level phone is targeted at first-time smartphone users, which according to Nokia's press release, numbers no less than 150 million in the U.S.
This will undoubtedly give it a big enough market to sell its phones to, and gain a toehold in, a market it has not been able to penetrate despite repeated attempts. However, we believe that at $50, it will attract a lot more price-conscious customers than just those looking to buy one for the first time.
Relationship With Carriers Is Vital
One of the major reasons for Nokia's earlier failed attempts in the U.S. was the lack of a good relationship with the carriers, who have been the backbone of the burgeoning U.S. smartphone industry. Nokia is addressing that concern this time around.
According to some reports, Nokia is planning something big for the bigger carriers such as AT&T and Verizon. It is testing out a 4G LTE version of its higher-end Lumia 800 smartphone to gain their approval. This phone will most likely run on Tango, Windows' update to the Mango that will include LTE support. We believe that Nokia is trying aggressively to forge a healthy relationship with the carriers by paying heed to their individual requests and that surely bodes well for Nokia's plans for the U.S.
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This commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet guest contributor program. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of TheStreet or its management.