Nokia quietly hikes prices for it’s new devices – C6, C5, E5, C3 and N8

Remember those estimated retail prices before taxes and subsidies that Nokia gives us with the announcement of each of their new handset? They sound great, don’t they?

Yep. If only those were the prices that we could get the new Nokia smartphones for. Unfortunately that “before taxes” caveat makes it almost certain that we won’t. Some countries levy customs duties for every handset, which get passed on to consumer, others have various sales taxes that get tacked on the retail price. Here in Europe we pay VAT, which adds from 17 to  25% to the price of almost anything we buy.

So, getting that lowly advertised retail price for a new contract free phone is almost never an option.

But now, it seems Nokia itself has been quietly raising  prices across all their new device line-up. Handsets like Nokia C6, C5, C3, E5 and, of course, N8. The price hikes are different for every model and every country, but nevertheless they are there and, in some cases, they are pretty significant, reaching 20% and more for certain models.

To get a better idea of were the things stand today, I went through official Nokia online shops in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, UK, Poland and USA,  and checked out the prices quoted for SIM free, recently announced and/or released models. These were Nokia N8, C6, C5, E5 and C3. Pricing info for some of the handset models was not yet available in some countries.

After that, to get the actual price before taxes, I subtracted the VAT for each (European) country, and used today’s exchange rate to calculate the actual device price in Euros for countries with their own currencies. Here’s the results I got:

Except for Nokia C5 in Finland, Spain and Poland, the actual price of every other new Nokia handset was higher then estimated retail price quoted in product announcement press release. In all, but 3 cases the price was higher by more then 5%, and in majority of cases the price hike was higher then 10%. For the Eurozone countries, where there is no currency risk, Nokia France looks particularly greedy, charging 25% more then RRP for Nokia C6 and 20% more for C5.

In countries outside of the Eurozone (USA, Poland, U.K), price increases are even more severe. Part of that might be explained by hedging against weakening Euro. But currency volatility can explain 5-7% of price increase, while the device prices in most cases there are higher way more then 10%.

And, a note about Nokia E5 in U.K. It’s now available for preorder at £259, but I will strongly recommend against doing that. It’s 88 Euro, or 49% more expensive then estimated retail price at the announcement, and way more expensive then E5 is offered in other countries. My guess is that it’s just a trick for early adopters, and the price will be dropped by tens of Euros as soon as device becomes available.

Author: Stasys Bielinis

While I like to play with the latest gadgets, I am even more interested in broad technology trends. With mobile now taking over the world - following the latest technology news, looking for insights, sharing and discussing them with passionate audience - it's hard to imagine a better place for me to be. You can find me on Twitter as @UVStaska'

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  • eldarmurtazin

    Wholesale price for Russia is uo to 10 per cent then RRP from press-releases (wholesale prices without VAT) – thats enourmous. Nokia are lying about prices.

  • Kirill Zelenski

    Hi Staska,
    I dont think Nokia is lying about prices or trying to raise it. Question how to count and compare it… )

    The correct counting is important. Look, Staska, if you take just for example from your table Nokia N8 in Italy, 469 Euro, 20% VAT here inside is 93,8Euro (VAT is always % inside the price!), so then actual price will be not 390,83Euro as you marked, but 375,20 Euro.
    That gives “price difference” just 5,20 Euro, not stated by you 20,83Euro…

    Also, pay attention to some moments:
    1) When producer (any producer, not only Nokia does that) announce prices, it says usually: “is estimated to retail for EUR *** excluding taxes and subsidies”. Estimated means not exactly, but approximately.
    2) here is possible some price differences between countries because of currency or some other taxes etc..
    3) Prices in online and others branded stores are always little bit higher that average on market. Especially for early adopters, as you said yourself.

    Some people here makes itself advertising saying bad things about Nokia, because no other way to get popularity :)))
    I actually dont think it was your reasons for publishing it. From other side I am sorry to say you got confused with basic price differences… But it is easy to explain.

  • Staska

    Hi Kiril,

    I am aware that the VAT is “inside the final price”. And I know that
    calculating how much is VAT and how much is price of the item, when you only
    see the final price, can be confusing. But in this case it's you who are

    The final item price with VAT is calculated by adding VAT rate to the
    original price, which is NOT the same as subtracting VAT rate from the
    final price. To make it more clear, with your Italian Nokia N8 example, if
    we take N8 PR price and Italian 20% VAT rate, N8 price should have been:

    370EUR +20% = 370EUR + 74EUR = 444 EUR

    If we try to do it now your way (Final price -VAT), we get:

    444 EUR – 20% = 444EUR-88.8EUR = 355.2 EUR – quite a significant difference,
    I'd say.

    For counting VAT backwards from the final price, the formula is: VAT free
    price=Final price/(1+(VAT rate/100))

    As for the rest of your explanations – I address most of them in my post,
    but anyway:

    There are NO additional taxes or currency fluctuations inside Eurozone -
    Finland, Spain, Italy and France – in this case. From price before taxes and
    currency perspective, selling N8 in Helsinki, Paris, Madrid or Paris, is the
    same as selling N8 in Moscow, St.Petersburg, Novosibirsk and Kaliningrad .

    There are no additional taxes in European Union outside Euro zone too. So
    for U.K and Poland – difference can be only from currency fluctuation, and
    it's too big in this case to be explained only by exchange rate.

    For U.S. – there also are no import taxes, and sales taxes of separate
    states are not included in a $549 quoted price.

    As for the argument that the price on a company own online store has to be
    higher then the prices at 3d party retailers… It might be true. But online
    3d party retailers do that by taking it out of their own retail margin,
    which has already been included in an estimated retail price, quoted in
    press releases.

    Nokia probably wasn't lying at the time they quoted prices at product
    announcement, and I never said that. There might have been component price
    increases, weakening Euro or other business reasons for a price
    increase. But there is no doubt in my mind that there has been a significant
    5-20% price increase for new Nokia handsets, across the board. Nokia didn't
    tell anybody about it. And that's what I was talking about in my post.

  • guest

    Yes, you correct with calcualtion, sorry.

    But sure, again different reasons, including partners who operates the stores; and again, most important: “estimated” price is not promise to sell exactly for this price.
    Furthermore, usually it goes down after 1-2 months…)

  • Marcus Christopher McFann

    that was my same reply. wait a month, and online etailers are always way lower than nokia direct

  • Irfan Samuel

    actually Staska, you're calculating the Final price -VAT wrong way

    the 'Final Price' is 'Original Price' + VAT which is equal to 100%+20% = 120%

    so when you are calculating VAT, you are actually subtracting 20% of 120%. that is why in second case you are getting a higher VAT value.

    to get the VAT just subtract the 1/6 of the 'Final Price'

    e.g. 444 – (444/6) = Original Price

    guess you have to recalculate the values.

  • Dial83

    Hi Staska~
    What is the meaning of “Promised PR Price'?
    Could you please give me definision of that?

  • Staska

    The price quoted in a product announcement press release