9/4/2008 10:29:00 AM
O2 says ‘no’ to stocking the Nokia N96
O2 will not stock the Nokia N96, arguably the most anticipated phone of the year, when it launches on 1 October.
The operator is believed to have allocated the majority of its subsidy budget to the Apple 3G iPhone for the remainder of the financial year, leaving it unwilling to subsidise the expensive Nokia device as well.
It is believed that O2 is under pressure to hit its iPhone targets, or risk losing its exclusivity with Apple.
There are also no Nseries handsets available on the operator’s 12-month contracts.
O2’s management team is looking to rein in the spiralling cost of Nokia’s Nseries handsets in light of the lower average monthly spends on postpay. The operator believes there is no merit in stocking the N96 if its minimum line rental offer for a free N96 is higher than rivals’. One source close to O2 added: ‘O2 wants to challenge the argument that it is impossible to grow in the contract market without flagship Nokia handsets in its range.’
Store staff have been told there is no N96 in the range because there is little profit margin on Nseries handsets. The network has also flagged up the possibility of a repeat on the N96 of the component and software problems that blighted early batches of the N95.
O2 increased its minimum monthly line rental to obtain free top-end phones, such as the Nokia N95, Sony Ericsson C902 and Samsung Tocco, to £75-per-month, but recently brought prices back down, except for the N95.
Customers are likely to be able to buy the Nokia N96 on O2 at the Carphone Warehouse.