Nokia planning CDMA smartphone

Nokia plans on addressing its relatively weak presence in the U.S. smartphone market by eventually producing a CDMA smartphone that large carriers such as Verizon Wireless and Sprint Nextel could launch, the company's chief executive said.

Nokia CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo summed up his company's position in the United States succinctly: "We are the incumbent in the world at large," he told BusinessWeek, "in the U.S., we are the underdog." The company commands the global smartphone market, and had more than 41 percent market share in the first quarter, according to Gartner. However, its attempts to crack into the U.S. market have so far been feeble; according to Strategy Analytics, Nokia's overall share of the U.S. handset market stood at 7.9 percent, up from 6.5 percent in the first quarter of 2008.

Two of Nokia's flagship smartphones--the 5800 XpressMusic and the N97--are available in the United States, but not through a Tier 1 carrier. Regional carrier Cincinnati Bell sells the 5800 for for $149 with a two-year service contract and after a $100 mail-in rebate, and the N97 is available unlocked for $700. However, AT&T Mobility did launch the company's E71x phone earlier this spring, marking a rare bright spot in Nokia's U.S. efforts.

To address the company's U.S. gap, Nokia is looking to tap the CDMA market. "We are investing in CDMA," Kallasvuo said. "It is our ambition to come out with a smartphone in CDMA." He did not elaborate on the company's plans or say when Nokia would introduce a CDMA smartphone.

For more:
- see this BusinessWeek article

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