Is Nokia Making a Big Mistake?

Nokia’s (NYSE:NOK) plans to limit its new line of Windows 8-powered Lumia smartphones to AT&T (NYSE:T) had analysts and investors concerned, but recent announcements indicate that T-Mobile and Verizon (NYSE:VZ) may carry a Lumia phone as well.

Following the launch of the Lumia 820 and 920 phones, Nokia said that the phones would be exclusive to AT&T. Because the wireless carrier has inferior LTE coverage to Verizon, offering the service in only 65 major markets compared to Verizon’s 371, the move was seen as a mistake.

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With such competition in the smartphone market from Samsung (SSNLF.PK), Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android, and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), exclusivity would have decreased the pool of potential Lumia users drastically. Customers of Verizon, Sprint (NYSE:S), and T-Mobile would have no choice but to purchase other phones. As Seeking Alpha analyst Ashraf Eassa wrote on October 7, “it seems nonsensical to put an artificial cap on number of people who can buy a new Lumia.”

However, while AT&T will have exclusive rights to Nokia’s flagship Lumia phones, the 920 and 820, other carriers may have their own Lumia devices as well.

A photograph leaked via Twitter on Tuesday seemed to show a version of the Lumia made for Verizon, the previously unannounced Lumia 822, codenamed Atlas. While the origin of the account @evleask is unknown, Business Insider reports that it has been accurate with Nokia leaks in the past. Seeking Alpha gave the rumored Verizon phone an 80 percent probability of coming to fruition.

Furthermore, T-Mobile, announced on Monday that it would sell a near-identical phone to the AT&T’s 820, called the Lumia 810. Both phones will run Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows 8 and include Nokia’s wireless charging and Maps technology. However, the Lumia 810 will be slightly lighter than the 820 and have 3 additional hours of battery life.

With the addition of more carriers, Nokia’s Lumia phones will be available at 13,892 locations in the United States, a 631 percent increase in availability from AT&T’s 2,200 U.S. stores.

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