Nokia's Lumia deal with China Mobile raises hopes

Wed Dec 5, 2012 8:58am EST
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By Jussi Rosendahl

HELSINKI (Reuters) - Nokia is to partner with China Mobile, the world's biggest mobile operator, in a sales deal that will give the Finnish company an opportunity to win back Chinese market share from Apple's iPhone.

China Mobile, which has more than 700 million subscribers but no contract to sell iPhones, will start selling a version of Nokia's flagship Lumia 920 smartphone in the world's largest mobile market.

Nokia shares were up 8.7 percent at 2.75 euros on the Helsinki bourse at 1305 GMT.

"They will have an advantage that their main competitor doesn't have," said analyst Eric Beaudet from Natixis Securities.

The phone will be available for order in Chinese market by the end of the year at a retail price of 4599 yuan ($740).

Sales of Nokia's new Lumia 920 and 820 models --- which operate on Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 software -- are seen as crucial for the Finnish company as it tries to regain global market share from Samsung and Apple.

"It is not a surprise, but it still means a giant opportunity for Nokia, maybe one of the best opportunities for its smartphones right now. This market has a lot of piled-up demand for high-end smartphones," Nordea Markets analyst Sami Sarkamies said.

Nokia's stock is still down 28 percent this year, although it has edged higher in recent weeks on hopes of promising Lumia sales.   Continued...

A Nokia Lumia 920 featuring Windows Phone 8 is displayed during an event in San Francisco, California October 29, 2012. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith