Nokia considers exclusive partnerships with European operators

Reports suggest the struggling manufacturer will offer its Windows 8 phones through exclusive partnerships with European carriers.

Nokia is planning to offer its Windows Phone 8 handsets through exclusive partnerships with European operators, according to reports.

The Financial Times cited a person familiar with the negotiations claiming the Finnish firm was in conversations with major operators, including France Telecom – parent company of UK operator Orange – to organise exclusive deals similar to the Apple iPhone launch back in 2007.

Then, Apple chose O2 as its exclusive partner in the UK, meaning customers could only get their hands on the device from that mobile operator.   

If it does the deal with France Telecom, the source also suggested it could work its way over to the UK as part of Everything Everywhere, the joint venture with T-Mobile.

Nokia has avoided such arrangements in the past, favouring a wider market strategy to offer its handsets through as many channels as possible. However, when it tried the tactic in the US, tying up with the operator AT&T, it seemed to pay off with better sales and interest from the market.

With another round of disappointing results last week, showing drops in smartphones sales of 38% to 10.2 million, it would be understandable if Nokia was keen to try this marketing technique to bolster its profits in Europe.

We contacted Nokia for confirmation on the discussions, but it had not returned our request at the time of publication.

The manufacturer is pinning a lot of its hopes on the upcoming Windows Phone 8 mobile operating system from Microsoft, hoping to ride the wave of advertising and hype created when the software giants launches all of its Windows 8 products in October.

However, Microsoft will be making the mobile operating system available to other manufacturers and, despite Nokia’s CEO Stephen Elop touting the close relationship the two firms have, it will be looking to make as much money from Windows Phone 8 from as many firms as possible without having a focus purely on Nokia.

The handsets are expected to launch shortly after the Windows 8 release date of 26 October 2012.  

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