The Good Side of Operator Diversity for Handset Manufacturers

Every now and then I just wonder why Nokia just can’t their feet on the ground in the U.S. I wonder if it has something to do with the fact that there is only T-Mobile and AT&T as GSM operators (plus a few small ones) and no direct sales channels or service providers like in many countries in Europe!? While the U.S. market is certainly big in terms of number of people, Nokia’s opportunities via only two carriers are rather small. Even if both worked with Nokia they can only address half the population, as the other half is with CDMA carriers. And if only one of those two doesn’t like Nokia (anymore), the opportunity is instantly cut in half. Compare that to markets such as Europe where there are at least 3 to 4 operators in each country. If Nokia falls out of favor with one of them, that’s not really a problem, there are so many more operators in so many more countries to do business with. O.k., it’s a lot of work to talk with so many operators but in the end it might greatly reduce their risk. And then there are the service providers in many countries or even laws that mobile phones must be sold independently from subscriptions. In countries where this is the case, Nokia depends even less on carriers.

One thought on “The Good Side of Operator Diversity for Handset Manufacturers”

  1. I recently got a Nokia 6555 from AT&T in order to get Bluetooth, so I could pair it with my Nokia 770 internet tablet, which uses wifi to access my DSL connection provided by AT&T. Now, AT&T Wireless offers internet browsing on my 6555 for an extra monthly fee, but using Bluetooth allows me to download content from the internet to my phone via my internet tablet. So, AT&T loses out on some revenue because of Nokia technology; this could explain the resistance to selling Nokia products in the US.

    With the development of open mobile phones and open phone networks in the US, the situation for Nokia should improve. But the US cell phone companies will have to reinvent themselves. I have a two year contract with AT&T for wireless service; hopefully I am not being too optimistic that in two years I will have open cell phone networks to choose from.

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