Nokia “drops O2″ as stockist for Windows Phone devices

Sources say O2 could not agree to strict criteria for the devices laid down by the manufacturer

Nokia is understood to have dropped O2 from its list of network operators that will stock its first range of devices using the Windows Phone operating system.

Sources close to O2 and Nokia said the manufacturer laid down strict criteria to stock the device, including volume targets, store displays and marketing campaigns, which could not be agreed with O2.

O2 is said to have been reluctant to commit to its terms during a period in which the Apple iPhone 5 is due to launch. O2 currently has the leading market share for connected iPhone handsets in the UK, it recently claimed.

Nokia CEO Stephen Elop was in the UK earlier this month, and is said to have attended dinner on Tuesday 13, at which all operators excluding O2 are understood to have attended.

The first Nokia Windows Phone device will launch at the end of November and was demonstrated at the event.

O2 head of retail Richard Baylis told Mobile News he was unaware of any decision that had been made and would be very “surprised” if O2 did not stock the first Windows Phone device, based on its long-standing relationship with Microsoft.

A source said: “O2 is very good at handset marketing, better than any of the other operators, which tend to stick to promoting tariffs and deals. They work very well with the manufacturers and channel their message very well. But they are very close to Apple and will not look to compromise that relationship.

“O2 was initially very excited by the Nokia portfolio, but in recent weeks that attitude has changed.”

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