Nokia bets tablets on mobile subsidies

Nokia is banking on mobile operators to make it a success in the tablet market, which it will enter this quarter with the Lumia 2520.
The vendor unveiled the device – its first such unit – yesterday, revealing it features a 10.1-inch display, runs Windows Phone 8.1RT, and will be the first tablet to sport a Carl Zeiss camera lens.
However, Informa Telecoms & Media principal analyst Malik Saadi believes the key feature of the Nokia tablet is the fact it will not be available as a Wi-Fi only device, sporting instead an LTE and Wi-Fi combination he says shows the vendor is aiming the 2520 firmly at mobile operators.
“This sounds like a good strategy, the operators are being offered a medium to promote LTE usage at a reasonable level of device subsidy, which could enable them to create attractive data-plan offers for their subscribers,” Saadi says.
However, recent research by RAN analytics firm Actix revealed that most mobile broadband users prefer to access the Web via Wi-Fi, which could leave Nokia at a disadvantage.
Saadi notes the preference for Wi-Fi is particularly prevalent among 10-inch tablets, which consumers tend to regard as secondary devices. “Surveys show that owners of 10-inch tablets use them mostly in their homes, and often leave them at home with Wi-Fi as the preferred connectivity choice.”
The likelihood that Nokia’s first tablet will be viewed as a home device may also hinder operators’ ability to subsidize the price, Saadi argues. Nokia has set an unsubsidized price of $499 (€362) on the device, which is set to launch later this quarter.

Nokia’s launch came as Microsoft launched two new versions of its tablet product – the Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2.