Nokia (NYSE:NOK) is holding negotiations with European carriers to strike revenue sharing and exclusivity partnerships for its forthcoming smartphones running Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone 8 software, according to a report in the Financial Times.
The report, which cited unnamed sources, said that Nokia is seeking to revamp its marketing operations for its Lumia smartphones by creating dedicated carrier support for its smartphones, initially at one or two operators in Europe. The deals would include revenue-sharing arrangements, giving the carriers a financial incentive to push the devices, the report added.
A Nokia spokesman declined to comment.
Such plans are not without precedent, of course. Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) first iPhone relied on a revenue-sharing arrangement with AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T), though this was discontinued with the iPhone 3G. And Research In Motion's BlackBerry service worked through a similar scenario.
The report said the talks with Nokia are still at an exploratory stage but that France Telecom is one of the operators under consideration.
In the United States, T-Mobile USA exclusively launched the Lumia 710 in January and AT&T launched the Lumia 900 in April. However, those deals do not include any known revenue-sharing components.
Nokia CEO Stephen Elop said last week that the company's Windows Phone 8 smartphones will be an "important catalyst" for the company. Nokia posted a $1.7 billion loss in the second quarter amid declining sales. The company reported four million Lumia smartphone sales, double what it had in the first quarter.
Notably, Nokia reported shipments of 600,000 devices in North America in the second quarter. Since Nokia's Lumia phones are the only devices the company is pushing in the North American market, it's reasonable to assume that Nokia sold 600,000 Lumia smartphones in the United States and Canada during the quarter. Worryingly, Nokia sold the same number--600,000--in the North American market in the first quarter of this year.
Despite recent credit rating downgrades from Moody's and Fitch, Nokia received an uplift from research firm Strategy Analytics. According to the firm, Nokia's Lumia sales through its first three quarters of availability beat, in terms of shipment numbers, sales of the iPhone in its first three quarters as well as Samsung's first Android smartphones.
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