FINNISH PHONE MAKER Nokia has confirmed that it is allowing only selected partners to sell its Lumia 800 smartphone.
Nokia has confirmed with THE INQUIRER that only Vodafone, Three, Orange and T-Mobile will sell the handset among mobile operators in UK. The only retailers to get Nokia's flagship Windows Phone 7.5 smartphone will be The Carphone Warehouse and Phones 4U, which will sell it SIM-free as well as on contract.
All other retailers including big names like Amazon will have to wait until next year to sell the device SIM-free. Online retailer Clove said that its stock has been delayed until January 2012.
Clove said, "It's bad news on the Nokia front this afternoon unfortunately. We can now confirm that the Nokia Lumia 800 will not be available SIM-free in the UK until January 2012, although it will still be launched in the UK on November 16th with a contract and will be available from selected stores."
Mark Squires, communications director at Nokia told us, "The fact is though that the vast majority of the operators and major high street retailers have taken up the product and are throwing their support behind it. Therefore we are making sure that by using these channels the Lumia 800 will be available to our customers in the widest variety of outlets from SIM free to contract. We have also worked extensively to train these channels to support the product. From Q1 next year we will be supplying the product to our wider UK distribution network."
The handset is Nokia's first Windows Phone 7.5 device and the firm is due to launch it next week on 16 November. We wonder what impact forcing consumers to go to only a handful of retailers might have on sales.
This comes as a disappointment to smaller retailers such as Clove, which told us, "Very frustrating, we've had loads of interest!"
We asked if Nokia is confident that the phone will sell well even though it is limited to a handful of retailers. Squires said, "Yes. The most important thing is that folk who go to purchase in person can clearly see the differences and capabilities of what they are buying. Anyone who wants a Lumia will find it online and in store at a wide variety of price points and bundles very easily." µ