Nokia is back on US shelves: HMD Global partners with Verizon and Cricket Wireless

The key to success in the US mobile phone market is shelf space at wireless carrier stores. HMD Global announced that two new phones are coming to local stores near you this month.
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributing Writer
Image: HMD Global

My first official T-Mobile smartphone was the Nokia 3650, launched back in 2003. As shown in ZDNet's Nokia story, in 2007 Nokia had over 50 percent of the global mobile phone marketshare. Five years later, it was down at less than 5 percent when Microsoft purchased the company.

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The Nokia brand is making a global comeback in the smartphone world thanks to HMD Global and the release of some compelling, affordable handsets like the and . We recently saw leaks of the high end Nokia 9 PureView, which is likely to excite smartphone enthusiasts in 2019.

Success in the US is closely tied to wireless carrier support and the most recent example of this is the OnePlus 6T launch with T-Mobile that saw a 249 percent increase over the launch of the SIM-unlocked OnePlus 6 that had no official carrier support. HMD Global announced partnerships with Verizon and Cricket Wireless to launch new Nokia Android phones in the US. Nokia phones are also coming soon to Canada with Chatr.

Consumers can pick up the new Nokia 3.1 Plus from Cricket Wireless starting today for $159.99. The Nokia 3.1 Plus runs Android 9 Pie (still not available on many flagships from Samsung, LG, HTC, and others) on a 5.99 inch display. Dual rear cameras for bokeh effects and front 8 megapixel shooter are also on board.

The phone has a massive 3,500 mAh battery with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 439 processor for a rated 2+ days of battery life. The Nokia 3.1 Plus is a solid sub-$200 smartphone that looks perfect for a first phone.

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Verizon will soon be launching the Nokia 2 V that also focuses on multi-day use with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 processor and a 4,000 mAh battery with its 5.5 inch display. Android Oreo (Go edition) is provided on this phone with availability scheduled for next week on January 31. CNET reports that the price of the Nokia 2 V will be less than $100, so likely a $99 phone.

With flagship smartphones in the $1,000 price range, 2019 may be the year of the affordable phone as Nokia, OnePlus, Motorola, and others challenge the shrinking smartphone market on US carrier store shelves.

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