Nokia Windows Phone sales may explode this summer: ~4 million new Lumia 610s, 719, China Mobile deal

Sales of Nokia’s Lumia smartphones haven’t been stellar so far. Perhaps that’s to be expected when a company switches its main smartphone platform seemingly overnight. Perhaps that’s to be expected because the operating system powering these devices is quite young.

Though for a company of Nokia’s former size and prowess, the 500-700K Lumias sold in the fourth quarter of 2011 are nothing to write home about. While the first quarter of 2012 will surely improve on those numbers, it appears that Q2 of this year is when Nokia’s Windows Phone sales will really start picking up.

That’s when Compal expects to be manufacturing almost 4 million Nokia Lumia 610 units. The Lumia 610 was announced last month during MWC as Nokia’s most affordable Windows Phone yet, and the Finnish company has outsourced production of that model to Compal, one of the big ODMs. This outsourcing probably means that Nokia has finally taken production of its other Lumia devices in-house.

Now those 4 million or so Lumia 610s will clearly have a big impact on Nokia’s Q2 smartphone sales, so it seems that when you’ll look back on the history of Windows Phone, Q2 2012 is going to be when it really started growing. Keep that in mind.

Another aspect that may help Nokia’s Windows Phone sales grow in the short term is the Chinese market. This is going to become the biggest smartphone market this year, for the first time overtaking the US, according to some analysts. As such, being big in China is increasingly important for mobile device makers.

Apple interestingly isn’t big over there, as its market share is just a third of that seen by Samsung. One of the reasons for that is that Samsung’s devices are compatible with and can be bought from all the three big carriers. Whereas Apple has only started a partnership with China Telecom a few days ago for selling the iPhone, and it’s also been working with China Unicom since the first iPhone made it to China. But those are just the No.2 and No.3.

The big elephant in the room, China Mobile, has more than 650 million subscribers. And the iPhone only works on 2G (EDGE) on China Mobile because of the different 3G tech that it uses. While Apple is thinking whether it wants access to that huge addressable market, Microsoft will probably get there first.

It’s widely expected that a Windows Phone device with full 3G support will be launched by China Mobile in the near future. It’s not 100% certain what manufacturer will make it, although it’s been consistently rumored that Nokia will be that company. Add to that Nokia’s recent inking of a deal with China Mobile, and things become pretty clear. Even if Nokia won’t supply the first WP to China Mobile, it will have a device on that carrier pretty soon.

And that should also help boost its overall global Lumia sales. After all, at least a few of those 650 million subscribers will be willing to try out Windows Phone, especially since they’ll be able to get their devices subsidized.

But Nokia isn’t going to stop there. It has also inked a deal with China Telecom, and it looks like a Nokia Lumia 710 variant is headed to that particular carrier. We’ve heard bits and pieces about the Nokia Lumia 719 before, and now a Lumia 719C with support for China Telecom’s CDMA2000 network has been certified in China (after previously also stopping by the Bluetooth SIG).

So, with about 4 million Lumia 610s globally, and the Lumia 719 on China Telecom and another device on China Mobile, Nokia’s Windows Phone sales are set to skyrocket (at least compared to current levels) very soon. It’s going to be an interesting year in mobile, that’s for sure.

Via LiveSide, TheNextWeb, Bloomberg, DigiTimes

Author: Vlad Bobleanta

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  • Walt French

    “While Apple is thinking whether it wants access to that huge addressable market, Microsoft will probably get there first.”

    Seems like the whole thrust of the article rests on this single assumption, so it deserves a bit more scrutiny than is obvious in the article.

    Why would Apple, which has been carefully building its retail, support, carrier relations and more, be lah-di-dah about expansion in China? And why would Microsoft, which hasn’t even bothered to promote its stuff in its home market (to the predictable result of <2% market share and zero/negative profitability), suddenly turn up the gas in a country where it's only known as the 10-year-old PC-OS-that-must-be-pirated?

    On my last trip to China, Nokia's mosquito ringtone was the one I heard most on the street. But those were, of course, relatively low-end feature phones. Apple's marimba tone came a close second.

    I'm not saying that Nokia CAN'T make the magic happen, but it's hard to see how Microsoft is going to transcend Nokia's low-cost/low-function reputation by out-marketing and out-relationship-building Apple. Why do you assert they will?

  • Lee

    I think your article is well written and it plots the obvious, Windows Phone will become a major player in China. It’s more by luck than great planning as it turns out the iPhone on 2G is just not hacking it on China Mobile.
    Nokia (et al) and Microsoft need China and perhaps astute Chinese will realize that adopting Windows Phones will be a progression to internet use at a reasonable price. The iPhone is an expensive commodity when compared to the Lumia 610. Personally I think the 610 is going to be a win – win for the Chinese.

  • Gunat

    Chinese are preferring Android and there is no room for WP.

  • Raman

    Windows Phone has been a failure. It is there in the market for last 6+ years ( Windows Mobile being marketed as Windows Phone). The author is not correct in saying that SP is a young OS. It is in fact 6+ years old and has been proving to be a failure. Why Chinese will prefer such a waste OS when superiod Android is available with excellent apps and whole ecosystem.

  • Gunat

    The article is just a marketing gimic and nothing more. It just assumes something to praise both Nokia and MS, both of which are failing at competetion with Android and iPhone.

  • Suga

    Selling 1 million Lumias in a quarter is ridiculous on both Nokia and Microsoft. See how Andoroid phones are selling, nearly a million every day! And, see how iPhone 4S sold in just couple of months. That is called SUCCESS. Selling brand new product less than a million in a quarter clearly shows how poor are WP and Nokia in the competetion. And, further WP is not an young OS, it is there for more than 6 years. It had 40% market share 6 years back and now it is less than 2 % market share because of Android and iPhone. Android is a super OS with great apps and ecosystem and I dont see any reason why would one go with WP when great Android phones are available with plenty of applications. Nokia made 1+ billion loss last year and it will be even terrible this year due to fierce competetion.

  • Bodybuilding Coupon Code

    I wouldn’t say it would necessarily take over Android, Blackberry, and iOS, but it will put Windows and Nokia in a great position. I, for one, am very excited about the Lumia 800. 

  • Arro Gant

    And you are the expert? 

  • Anonymous

    Come back to Earth Raman.  Windows Phone has no link to Windows Mobile.  Different interface, different apps, different target market.

    And hear this once and for all.  Android is one of the greatest scams ever perpetuated on the public.  For a small percentage of technical users, it offers total freedom.  For the rest of population, who just want a phone that is stable, consistent and easy to use, its a nightmare. 

  • sai sumanth sathu

    when will 610 come to india??

  • Walt French

    As such an obvious scam, why do a million people a day fall for Android? They don’t have iPhone- or BlackBerry- or Nokia-toting friends and neighbors to compare to?

    It’s not my choice for a mobile, but I see people yakking and surfing away on ’em. They’re priced right. People are pretty sure when they walk into a phone store what they’re going to get.

  • Ajay Chaudhary

    People choose android because that’s what they see in the market all over and at better prices?  People don’t choose android because they want FREEDOM or OPEN SOURCE.  Its price and smartphones are new cool factor these days.  When people will see more options such as WINDOWS PHONE at reasonable prices, maybe people will try it?  Why are you loosing your cool over windows/android?  If you like android then use it.  Who cares what you use?  Why do android fans jump from their chairs if someone writes an article about windows phones?

  • Walt French

    I don’t know any Android fans who jump from chairs when WP is mentioned. Heck, as I said, I’m not an Android user. I just chided postulation for statements that inhibit understanding of how well WP will, or will not, succeed.

    Read my earlier post — the oldest in this thread. I’m skeptical about WP success, but not because of Android. I think this thread started with an unsupported premise (that Apple would idly watch Microsoft take over China), and I’ll say now, that if that’s the only way for Microsoft to win in China, it will lose badly.I recently visited relatives in a poorer province of China. The better-off and younger of them are avid smartphone users (iPhones) and the rest have inexpensive phones, more Nokias than others. The first group, the one with spending power, seems unlikely to want the “novelty” of another OS. The second seem unlikely to carry brand loyalty when smartphones are more easily available and become more the norm. Nor will Microsoft loyalty carry the day; one of those iPhone enthusiasts (who also bought an iPad) is a rep for Dell; he sells Windows stuff all the time.

    I suppose it could happen; it’s just that this assertion of Apple sitting by is utter bunkum. Microsoft suddenly succeeding in a market where it is primarily known as an antagonist in anti-piracy, and where it commands no loyal user base? Show me the money!