Nokia Lumia 800 vs Samsung Galaxy S2 vs iPhone 4S/4 price comparison and NWP shipment expectations

So, Nokia Lumia 800 sales are disappointing, some analysts say. Perhaps.

But what does it mean, really? For sales to be disappointing we first have to set some realistic expectations of what they should have been. And then see whether Nokia exceeded, met or missed them.

So how many Lumia 800s and Lumia 710s can we  expect Nokia to ship in Q4 2011?

Lets take a closer look at where and how Nokia is selling Lumia 800 right now. To create the table below I went through online stores of all operators in the initial Nokia Lumia 800 launch countries, and compared the prices at which it is sold there, to the prices of the competing flagships – Samsung Galaxy S2 and iPhone 4/4S.

(All prices are in Euro. They show monthly costs of the cheapest 2yr plans, at which Lumia 800, Galaxy S2 and iPhone is offered for free. For comparison purposes, when free option was not available, the initial subsidized price was split over 24 month period and added to the monthly plan cost.)

Some interesting highlights from the exercise:

  • U.K. is by far the toughest and most competitive market for Lumia 800. And Samsung is really gunning for Nokia there by dropping the price of it’s Galaxy S2 flagship 14% – to £31- compared to Nokia’s £36 (42/36EUR) on Vodafone and and Orange U.K. If you had any doubts that this low Galaxy S2 price is aimed squarely at Nokia, check the prices on T-Mobile and O2 U.K. On those networks Lumia 800 is not available and there is no need for any price war on Samsung’s part. So the cheapest plan you can get free Galaxy S2 on T-mobile starts at £35.75, and at £39 on O2 UK.
  • While iPhone 4S is a truly premium device and probably not in direct competition with Lumia 800, both in U.K. and Germany Nokia phone competes directly with iPhone 4 8GB on price. Price differences between Lumia and iPhone 4 in France are pretty minor too, and makes both those handsets direct competitors.
  • It seems that Nokia Lumia 800 did not start shipping in Spain yet. It is not available in operator online stores, and only Orange Spain has Lumia on pre-order
  • For TIM Italy there’s only unsubsidized device prices, since its site made their plans and/or subsidy schemes impossible to figure out. But the unsubsidized price might be a good indicator of the competitiveness of Nokia device, when it launches in less operator dominant markets like India, Russia, Hong-Kong and Singapore. Nokia Lumia 800 is 100 EUR cheaper than Galaxy S2, 150 EUR cheaper than iPhone 4S and 50 EUR cheaper than iPhone 4.
  • I am not sure what Nokia meant when they said they have 31 operators in 6 launch countries on board for Lumia. Maybe they had MVNO’s in mind. For now Nokia Lumia 800 is available only on 14 operators in 5 European countries. And even if they get all Spanish carriers on board – that will bring operator count to 18. But overall, Nokia Lumia network coverage is pretty decent. It is available to 52% of mobile subscribers in U.K, 69% in Germany, 72% in Netherlands, and it’s on all networks in Italy and France.

So what can we learn about possible new Nokia Windows Phone sales in Q4 2010 from above?

First we will need some some starting point to see what kind of sales numbers Nokia is able to deliver for its major device launches. And they have conveniently provided us with just such a number, with Symbian^3 launch  in Q4 2010.

Back then Nokia had 2 S^3 handsets – N8 and C7 – shipping the whole quarter,  and added limited numbers of the third- C6.01 –  in the middle of November. It was a global device launch, with N8 and C7 becoming available in most Nokia markets sometime during the same quarter. The results? Nokia was able to ship 5 million S^3 smartphones in three months. There were some unconfirmed reports that 4 million of them were Nokia N8.

Let’s compare that with Lumia launch. While Nokia is not making it’s first Windows Phones available globally, the countries where they do ship, usually make up about 50% of Nokia smartphone sales. With half of the market area covered, wouldn’t it be reasonable to expect 2.5 million Lumia devices to ship in Q4?


Last year Nokia had about 1 million in N8 pre-orders before the first handset shipped. Also they had 12 weeks of sales, compared with only half of that or less this year. What’s worse, at least half of the current Windows Phone target market won’t get their Lumias until sometime in December. And even in Europe, Lumia is not yet shipping in Spain.

Given these limitations I will be hugely surprised if Nokia will be able to ship anything close to 2 million Windows Phones this year. And numbers between 1 and 1.5 million Lumias shipped – will be an extremely good result for them. Much more realistic expectation, and and OK result for Nokia, will be between 750K and 1 million NWPs . And, given the promotion and marketing budgets they are throwing at this thing, if they can’t make it to 750K new smartphones by the end of the year, that will be a failure and a disappointment to me.

What about you. How many Lumia’s do you expect Nokia to ship?


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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  • WU

     good analysis, spot on

  • Baumannfred

    The most reasonable analysis and sales prediction I’ve been reading so far for the Nokia Lumia. God knows how much unprofessional crap is being published, copied/pasted an republished those days… Thanks.

  • GreenMan

    Dude do you even bother to research yourself or just do copy and paste.

    The Nokia Lumia 800 is the second most-popular smartphone in the Vodafone UK website, just behind the black iPhone 4S. What’s more the cyan version of the WP smartphone comes in third and that one is still on pre-order.

    The online store of the Netherlands carrier KPN tells a similar story, with the Nokia Lumia 800 the second best-selling smartphone there.

    Orange stores in UK are out of Nokia Lumia 800 units to sell.

    The Nokia 800 also is the most popular phone on o2 Germany:

  • Staska

    Dude do you ever bother to think for yourself and try to figure things out, instead of relying on meaningless PR spin? 

    Do you have any idea how these “most popular” ratings in carrier online stores are calculated? Do they include only online sales, or offline sales too? How many units do you have to sell to become second most popular? Etc; 

    No? Me neither. 

    But I try to look at the hard facts and numbers instead of empty PR spin. And the facts are: 

    -Before the numbers are counted, Nokia Lumia will be selling for only 46 days in 5 markets (U.K., France, Germany, Italy and Netherlands). With only half of U.K carriers offering it. 
    -Less then 40 days of sales in Spain
    -Less then 30 days of sales in India, Russia, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan

    It took Samsung 55 days to sell 3 million Galaxy S2. And that was a second generation of already wildly successful smartphone line on a wildly popular OS. Available in several times more markets, and at least twice as many carriers. And SGS2 didn’t have to compete against discounted iPhone 4 back then.

    Given  these limitations – do you really think Nokia has a chance to sell more then 2 million Lumia’s this year?


  • Staska

    Oh well. So much for huge sales theories based on carrier sites most popular rankings. Here’s what Vodafone themselves had to say about them to SlashGear:

    Unfortunately for Nokia, it seems divining sales from Vodafone UK’s site placement isn’t the most accurate way of doing it. Positioning on that page apparently doesn’t relate to actual sales, despite what “most popular” might suggest.

  • Staska

    And even more clear proof that those “Most popular” things are the load of BS. 

    Follow your own link to Vodafone UK “Most popular” page. There’s “Recommended” link on the left hand sidebar. Press to expand it. Then tick the “Top 10 selling phones” item there. Can you spot Lumia anywhere on Top 10 selling phones list? 

  • Michael Prince

    Staska, I appreciate the time you have put into your analysis. It’s still full of speculation, but that’s really all we have right now.

    I agree there is going to be quite a bit of ‘ramp-up’ for Nokia Windows phones, but in the longer term, Nokia can’t be happy with a #2 spot; in the short term though I’d say #2 is awesome. The  real (new) opportunity for Nokia is in the USA. If you check out the Nokia careers page, they have almost 200 open positions, a large number are very recently posted. Nokia could really occupy the space that HTC fills right now. This is a growing market, it would not be wise to count Nokia out … not by a long shot.

  • JD!

    Had nokia launched latest Belle phones as well … Things might have changed. Sigh… Just to position something superior Nokia actually mowed down the real superior phones…

    How much impact it might have if Belle 6xx, 7xx phones were launched? Any ideas?

  • GreenMan

    Lolz Lumia 800 not in top 10 selling phones
    This most popular rating is marketing BS
    Thanks for the research. Nokia and MS in deep shit, atleast so far.

  • GreenMan

    Lolz yeah Lumia 800 is not in the top ten best selling.
    Looks like tough road ahead for Micro/Nokia.
    Thanks for the analysis :)

  • Staska

    Well, I wasn’t talking about future of Nokia at all in this post. And, yes, they have a chance to bounce back. Maybe. Early signs show that they improved execution a lot. So now it’s all about whether they can make their bet on WP to pay off.  We’ll have to wait see on that one. The jury is still out. 

    And, btw, Nokia now is #3 in smartphones – behind both Samsung and Apple. And I don’t see them getting to even #2 spot until next fall at least  

  • Staska

    Nope, I do not think more Belles would have helped at all. They have launched 2 new Belle phones this fall, and we still do not know whether they helped or not. But they have been shipping them for only few weeks – so there was no reason to launch still more Belle phones this year. 

    From what I’ve heard, Nokia 600 was cancelled due to the lack of interest from carriers.That’s just a rumor for now – but I can not think of any other more likely reason for them to cancel that device after they already announced it