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Will CDMA Lumia Phones Save Nokia from Symbian Sunset in China?

by Linda Sui | 3月 29, 2012

Nokia today announced CDMA version of the Lumia phone, 800c exclusively for China market to be available in Q2 2012. It features a 3.7-inch touchscreen and 1.4G processor with full retail price of RMB 3,599 (US$ 571). It is reportedly the cost-effectively 610c will be following in next few months.

According to our Handset Country Share Tracker (CST) service, Nokia has been suffering from the faster-than-expected Symbian waning in China, its smartphone marketshare dropped to 18% in Q4 2011 from 54% at the beginning of the year. Will CDMA Lumia phones help Nokia regain the lost momentum in China, one of the largest smartphones worldwide?

First, its decent ID design and Nokia brand legacy would help Nokia switch some of previous loyal Symbian users towards Lumia phones; secondly, Nokia reentering CDMA market by working with China Telecom will diversify its product portfolio and enrich product offerings; thirdly, localized applications and initiatives to build up local developer community for Windows phone OS indicate Nokia and Windows ambitious to further build foothold in this fast-growing market.

However, the premium pricing and mid-tier hardware features would hinder demand from price-sensitive buyers, especially young people who are the main targeting segment of China Telecom TianyiFlyyoung sub brand. Moreover, the newly availability of CDMA iPhone at China Telecom would put Lumia phone into neck-to-neck competition with the star model in premium band. I would doubt China Telecom would be able to provide attractive subsidies to Nokia Lumia phones given the financial burden from the commitment on CDMA iPhones. Final, it may takes time to educate Chinese people to use Windows phone OS.

It remains to be seen how Windows Lumia phone will help Nokia regain the losing ground in China smartphone market. If I was a China Telecom subscriber, think twice before going for it.

- Linda Sui

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