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Report: Nokia to use MWC to unveil low-cost phones to fight Huawei, ZTE

Nokia (NYSE:NOK) plans to use its time at the Mobile World Congress trade show next week in Barcelona, Spain, to announce low-cost handsets and a smartphone running Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone software, according to a Reuters article.

The report, citing unnamed sources within Nokia, said the company will unveil phones aimed at combating Chinese vendors like Huawei and ZTE, which have been inching their way up the handset ranks by providing low-end smartphones and, increasingly, some higher-end models. Nokia also plans to announce a low-end Lumia Windows Phone model, the report said. Nokia declined to comment, according to Reuters.

Nokia is holding a press conference at MWC on the morning of Feb. 25 and is widely expected to announce some combination of new devices. Last year in Barcelona Nokia announced it would sell the low-end Lumia 610 as well as its high-end Lumia 900 in more markets. Nokia also announced at MWC last year three new phones for its Asha line, which is aimed primarily at emerging markets. Rumors have also indicated that Nokia may announce a Windows Phone using its PureView camera technology and perhaps a Windows tablet.

The report comes shortly after Samsung Electronics announced a new handset line called Rex that is aimed at emerging markets. Some interpreted that move as the beginning of a battle between Samsung's Rex brand and Nokia's Asha line.

Nokia has already made moves recently to shore up its position in the low end of the market. Last week Nokia introduced the Asha 310, a new, dual-SIM phone with Wi-Fi support. Nokia said the device will be available in Asia, India, the Middle East, Africa and Brazil starting this quarter for a suggested price of $102 before taxes and subsidies. In the fourth quarter Nokia sold 9.3 million Asha phones, more than twice the 4.4 million Lumias it sold. During the second half of 2012 Nokia shipped 15.8 million Asha phones, compared with 7.3 million Lumias.

For more:
- see this Reuters article
- see this The Verge article

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