Why an AT&T exclusive Lumia 920 was inevitable

Earlier today AT&T announced they will be carrying the Nokia Lumia 920. That wasn’t big news, we have been expecting that for weeks. The big news came when AT&T announced they are the exclusive carrier for the Lumia 920. People in the tech industry have been chastising Nokia for this all day long, but should we really be surprised? I don’t think so.

It’s no mystery that Nokia, as a company, is not doing so great right now. Just this week there was news that they might be trying to sell their headquarters. The only way they can get out of this mess is to sell some phones in the largest market: the U.S. Nokia used to have great relationships with carriers, but as times changed they fell away from the U.S. market. When Nokia finally came back earlier this year AT&T was the only major carrier to throw them a life preserver.

Reports of sales for the Lumia 900 have been both positive and negative. It’s easily the most popular Windows Phone, but that’s not exactly an impressive accomplishment right now. What exactly does Nokia have to convince all four carriers that they should offer the same phone as their competitors? This is not an easy task. Even the mighty Samsung had to bow down to carrier demands with the Galaxy S II, and it wasn’t until the S III that they were allowed to call their own shots. That didn’t just happen overnight.

Nokia can not afford to risk losing a relationship with AT&T at this point. This is probably one of the reasons why Microsoft has made a concerted effort to get behind HTC for WP8. HTC has established good relationships with all four carriers. If the Lumia 920 and Windows Phone 8 are a huge success then Nokia will actually have something in their back pocket to persuade carriers with, but until then Nokia is in no position to make demands with the mighty carriers.


  • http://twitter.com/richkidumad LosAltosHillsKid

    If the 900 moved more phones then I think we would have seen a multiple carrier release, which is good for WindowsPhone. If you believe the numbers of 600k luminas sold then you see why Nokia had to have the biggest carrier here in the US, its more about exposure. AT&T wants to lessen its dependence on the iPhone. So they will push the Nokia hard. You can also look at it this way, Verizon basically hates the WindowsPhone.

  • yatman60

    I appreciate the sentiment however as a shareholder in Nokia, this is a very disheartening move an as a proponent of the Windows 8 platform, I don’t see how this move will benefit Nokia or Microsoft. Being a Verizon customer who is still on an unlimited data plan, there’s no way I will leave Verizon just to buy this phone so my only real option will end up being the HTC device.

  • http://www.gamesobscura.com/ themizarkshow

    Hopefully the combo of HTC and Samsung can get some Windows Phones onto other carriers. I have more or less given up on ever having a Lumia of my own.

  • http://twitter.com/YanivC Yaniv C

    Good point! Saddest thing is that we as the consumer don’t even have say in what happens with the carriers. Our dollars support the carriers and they in turn thank us by laughing at us. My friends in Europe all get the NEWEST phones unlocked, and pay an average of $50 US for EVERYTHING unlimited. Cell, Text, Data….. everything. That’s because in Europe the carriers have to fight for the consumer whereas here we are stupid sheep! It is about time that we do something about this.