Nokia eyes EU network partners in Windows Phone 8 sales shift

Nokia's traditional "sell as many phones as possible" strategy could be ditched in favor of working with European operators -- like it has done with AT&T -- to launch a new marketing pitch for Windows Phone 8.

Nokia's existing sales strategy is "sell, sell, sell" as many phones as it can in as many regions as it can in a shorter space of time as possible. The more hands with phones in, the happier the Finland-based phone company is. 

But the company is in dire times and its existing strategy isn't working in the lucrative Western markets, particularly in the United States, and remains tepid at best in Europe.

According to the Financial Times of London, Nokia is looking to build relationships like it has with AT&T in the U.S. with European partners, effectively tearing up its existing mass marketing strategy in favor of competing in a war of words with Apple and Google, rather than at the point of sale. 

The idea is that Nokia would work with European operators -- France Telecom and Deutche Telekom's U.K.-based venture, Everything Everywhere, to name two named in the report -- like it does with AT&T to build dedicated support for its upcoming devices.

In doing so, it would guarantee exclusivity for certain operators in regions around Europe, and in return would appeal to network operators.

With Windows Phone 8 rumored for November , combined with Nokia's cash-burning rate of around $600 million per quarter, it could be the tipping point to the phone giant's future. 

Nokia sold four million Lumia smartphones in the second-quarter, a figure falling in line with estimates, but only sold 600,000 mobile devices in the U.S. , Europe only managed 15 million devices sold, while Asia-Pacific took the flame with more than 28 million devices sold.

You can likely see the problem. While Europe has a population twice that of the U.S., it also has a vast developing nation spread, particularly in the East. The U.S., despite its spots of poverty, is wholly rejecting Nokia phones for whatever reason, but it's causing Nokia some serious headaches.

If we look, however, at how the U.S. model with the AT&T--Lumia tagteam worked out, it doesn't show much optimism. But Europe has a greater number of existing and potential Nokia customers. If the U.S. is a test-bed for the mobile operator strategy, despite poor sales many would say the test itself was a success. Nokia just needs to buckle up and replicate such a "success" to a larger, more diverse, and willing market.

The negotiations are ongoing, but no deals have been struck just yet, the report said, citing a person familiar with the matter. With only one source, it's worth taking the rumor with a pinch of salt. 

A Nokia spokesperson said they do not comment on speculation or rumour. However: "We have excellent relationships and a regular dialogue with our operator partners," but the contents of any such discussions remain out of the public eye for now.

Image credit: CNET.

Updated at 10:55 a.m. BST: with comment from Nokia.

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