Nokia launches high-end MVNO in Japan

Nokia announced that it would launch an MVNO in Japan, using its high-end Vertu line of phones as a platform, marking the first time the world's largest handset maker has ventured into the role of wireless operator.

Nokia will use Japanese operator NTT DoCoMo's 3G WCDMA network to provide MVNO services. The use of Nokia's gem-encrusted and hand-crafted Vertu phones, which cost thousands of dollars at the low end, suggests that the service will be pegged at the high end of the Japanese market. The operation is being run by Nokia Siemens Networks as a managed service, and though Nokia has not said when the service will go live, Vertu stores are set to open on Feb. 19. 

"Meeting the needs of customers in this segment requires a specialised approach. Vertu users the world over are discerning individuals who are willing to pay a premium for the right experience," said Tagore Ramoutar, director of business development for Japan and Korea at Vertu. "Our success relies on delivering a world class experience that is unmatched." 

The Japanese wireless market, which is dominated by DoCoMo, KDDI and Softbank, has been especially hard for Helsinki-based Nokia to crack because the operators retain tight control over what handsets make it into the market.

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