So What is Nokia Up To?

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I have been with T-Mobile for about ten years, and my first phone was, if I recall correctly, a Nokia candy phone of the Symbian  60 model 3300 variety.  I learned to text message on this device. Along the way, I have also had a Samsung SGH-R255M, pictured above, that fits the palm of my hand, and a Sony Ericsson T80.  I have had a Nokia slider Music 5300 that also fit nicely in the palm of my hand, that I still carry with me when I travel to Canada or Europe and slip in a local SIM card.  I must say that I do like the ability to easily slip my phone in my pocket.  The 5″ sized Samsung of late boggles my mind, as one needs a purse for such a phone.

My introduction to smart phones, was really, I guess,  a pseudo smart-phone, the Nokia 5230 Nuron, which I was (I hate to admit it, but it is true..) using until I finally cut the SIM and stuck it into the OS 10 Dev Alpha device a few months ago.  Having been using the BlackBerry OS 10 device, it is not likely that I will go back to Nokia, especially with the Windows partnership.  None the less, I recently decided to buy some Nokia stock to balance my BlackBerry holdings.  At $3.32 it is a bargain, and I think it can only increase in value over the long term.

Nokia 5230 Nuron shown above

So, I thought that I would write about what Nokia is up to, near as I can see.  It seems like the company is betting on volume sales by making an innovative phone that will sell for $20. The Nokia 105 features preloaded games, a color screen, a radio, a speaking clock and a flashlight. The phone, Nokia’s cheapest ever, has been available for a few weeks in India and Indonesia and will soon start selling in Europe.  The phone is expected to have margins of 20% and compete with the Chinese entries from ZTE and Huawei Technologies Co. that have whittled away at Nokia’s volume sales of low end phones.  The same can be said about what is now happening to BlackBerry’s OS 7 base.  The idea is to build brand loyalty at the low end to carry through to the higher end Lumia lines.  From the Bloomberg article referenced below:

“The low-end, high-volume part of the mobile-phone market is a huge opportunity for Nokia (NOK1V) in developing countries,” said Francisco Jeronimo, an analyst at IDC in London. “These users will be likely to upgrade to more expensive phones over time, so it’s a good strategy to keep a high market share in this segment. The 105 is “very competitive” and should help Nokia with its low-end recovery effort, said Neil Mawston, an analyst at researcher Strategy Analytics in London. A predecessor to the 105, called the 1280, sold more than 100 million units over three years. Simpler phones have “been the bedrock of Nokia’s business for the past decade,” Mawston said.

Nokia’s expertise in handset production makes it possible to turn a profit on a $20 phone, Jeronimo said. For years the world’s largest mobile-phone maker and now No. 2, Nokia makes more than 600,000 phones a day in seven factories around the world, using parts from suppliers it knows well. Chinese rivals may be able to make a device as cheap as the 105, but they lack the features and services from Nokia, Jeronimo said.

The candybar-shaped 105 is 25 percent cheaper than the Nokia 1280, yet its battery lasts 56 percent longer — 35 days. The phone is resistant to water and dust and comes with text- message-based tools that teach English and provide basic health- care advice.

Despite such features, the company sought to simplify the phone’s software, which in turn allowed it to use cheaper parts, said Dirk Didascalou, head of R&D for Nokia’s mobile-phone business.

“To be successful at the low end, one needs to explicitly do innovative work with a focus on delivering value,” he said by phone from Nokia’s research facility in Beijing. “If you don’t, you get in a cost spiral where you’re always a bit too expensive compared to somebody else.”

Even as the slump in simple handsets has stolen investor attention, Nokia’s main goal is to make a full recovery in smartphones, where profit margins are widest. Apple (AAPL)’s 32- gigabyte iPhone 5 sells for $750, while Samsung’s Galaxy S4 goes for $640 and Nokia’s flagship Lumia 920 is $450.

Nokia sold 5.6 million Lumia phones, which run on Microsoft Corp. (MSFT)’s Windows, in the first quarter, up from 4.4 million in the previous three months. But the iPhone and Android control more than 90 percent of the smartphone market, while Nokia has just 3 percent, according to Strategy Analytics. So it’s far from clear Nokia can break that dominance even if its low-end devices recover, said Mikko Ervasti, an analyst at Evli Bank in Helsinki.

“Nokia may still be the second-biggest phone maker in the world,” Ervasti said. “But if it’s going to have a chance at long-term success it needs to make sure it also has the right smartphones.”

Nokia Sees Revival With Handsets at 97% Discount to IPhone

Nokia 105 shown above

Disclosure: I am long on BBRY & NOK.

No implicit or explicit suggestions for stock purchases are made herewith or anywhere on this site.

photo and quote source: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-04-28/nokia-betting-on-20-handset-as-it-loses-ground-on-iphone.html

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BlackBerry Z10 In Store One Week Later

BlackBerry Z10 In Store One Week Later

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Last Friday, March 29, 2013 I went into one of the top COSTCOs in the NYC area (and perhaps in the USA), store 321, on the thruway.  I wanted to check in at the “Wireless Advocates” kiosk and see how the launch of the Z10 was doing on TMobile, Verizon and AT&T at an independent multi-carrier vendor. They had not received any T-Mobile stock, they had 5 units from AT&T and 6 units from Verizon.  They got stock from AT&T on Wednesday and from Verizon on that Friday morning. Since Wednesday, they had sold a total of 7 cellphones:

2 Droid RAZR max HD and 1 RAZR m
4 Samsung Galaxy S3 units
Not a single Z10 was sold.  I went back Thursday, April 4, 2013, and I was told that they were now selling two Z10s a day.  This was the same result at a Best Buy that I visited on Monday April 1, 2013, where the week before they had not sold any, and the dummy units for AT&T and Verizon were now out on display.
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On Wednesday, April 3, 2013, I went to a Verizon store in the financial district where I was told that on the in-store launch day they sold out on their inventory of  thirty Z10 units by noon.  They are averaging twelve Z10 sales a day.  So, it would seem that the Z10 is selling steadily, and more so in the financial district.
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A Look At The T-Mobile BlackBerry Z10 Launch in The NYC Area

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Today, March 26, 2013, I visited a T-Mobile store in Westchester County at an outdoor mall. Although, there was no signage for the BlackBerry Z10, the associates and store manager were very enthusiastic about having the device.  Apparently ten Z10 devices were sold of the 20 in stock.  Eddie told me that they were waiting on the new display for the Z10.  He told me that customers have been coming in on a regular pace to get one.  He told me about the delay with the HTC “One” and explained the new “Simple  Choice” plan.

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I also went by a local independent carrier, my neighborhood re-seller whom I have visited over the last 4 weeks, and shared my Dev Alpha A with, while showing him the full release new BB10 OS on it.   He is anxiously awaiting his stock of BlackBerry 10 devices that are due this Friday and he plans to “sell like hell”, as they are different and should fly off the shelf with the “Simple  Choice” plan pricing.

Last night I visited a Staples, and spoke to the manager who was not too current about the new OS. So, I demonstrated the product (BlackBerry when am I getting my check?!  😉 ) Apparently, the dummy devices and signage was to be set up on launch day, and they had received inventory.

My general impression is that the carrier retail outlets and the independent retail outlets are more motivated to sell the Z10 than Best Buy.  Stay tuned as I plan to visit carrier AT&T and Verizon retail outlets soon!

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T-Mobile-the Un-Carrier- Moves Away From Contracts to it’s New “Simple Choice” Plan

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On Sunday, March 24, 2013, T-Mobile became the “Un-Carrier” with its offering of contractless phones with its “Simple Choice” plan.  As it aims to roll out LTE to 200 million Americans, this year.  With regards to the BlackBerry Z10, it is the first phone on the new TMO 4G-LTE network.  The HTC “One”  which was supposed to launch this week has been delayed, and so the Z10 steals the LTE spot light for some time.

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The “Simple Choice” plan offering for the Z10 is $99 dollars down with $18 per month added to pay the remaining phone cost of $532-$99= $433.  So in theory, one can pay the phone off  in 24 months or two years.  The difference from the nominal two year contracts at $199,  offered by AT&T and Verizon is that there are no “penalties” for walking away, as there are no contracts.  One would pay the balance due on the phone. Ofcourse, one needs to choose a series of services to add to the $18/month. Whether, in the end, the consumer actually saves money remains to be seen, yet it is a more flexible approach, allowing for people to get high end phones on an individual basis.  It seems to me that the cost of the phone is now coming out of the consumer’s pocket, especially for loyal customers who have been with TMO for many years.  It remains to be seen if the traditional “upgrade” paths to a new phone with a new contract, at a nominal fee, will still be available and what loyalty differentiation plans will be offered.

T-Mobile, held a live un-carrier event today at noon EST:

http://www.engadget.com/2013/03/26/t-mobile-iphone-liveblog/

http://www.engadget.com/2013/03/26/t-mobiles-uncarrier-event-roundup/

Here is today’s press release from T-Mobile:

T-Mobile Makes Bold “Un-carrier” Moves

 

Announces radically simple unlimited plan; axes contracts, unbundles cost of plan and device with lowest upfront costs, lights up 4G LTE network

 

NEW YORK — March 26, 2013 — T-Mobile has been talking the talk; now it’s walking the walk. The company, known for its “Un-carrier” attitude, today announced a series of moves to address consumer frustration with the unnecessary cost and complexity of wireless.

The moves include radically simplifying its lineup of consumer rate plans to one incredibly affordable plan for unlimited talk, text and Web; ensuring that customers never have to sign another annual service contract through T-Mobile retail outlets; and enabling customers to get the most popular smartphones whenever they want for the lowest upfront cost. T-Mobile also debuted its blazing fast 4G LTE network service in seven major metropolitan areas.

“These bold moves serve notice that T-Mobile is canceling its membership in the out-of-touch wireless club,” said John Legere, president and CEO of T-Mobile USA, Inc. “This is an industry filled with ridiculously confusing contracts, limits on how much data you can use or when you can upgrade, and monthly bills that make little sense. As America’s Un-carrier, we are changing all of that and bringing common sense to wireless.”

Un-Restricted, Un-Limited

Central to today’s announcement is a radically simple approach to consumer rate plans — the Simple Choice Plan. A break from industry norms, the Simple Choice Plan eliminates restrictive annual contracts, taking pain and confusion out of the wireless experience.

What could be simpler than one consumer rate plan?

Simple Choice asks customers two basic questions: How many lines do you need, and how much high-speed data would you like? Customers start with one line at $50 per month for unlimited talk, text and Web with 500MB of high-speed data. Customers can add a second phone line for $30 per month, and each additional line is just $10 per month. They can also add 2 GB of high-speed data for $10 per month more per line. Unlimited 4G data is only $20 more per month per line. No caps. No overages. Just simple value.

Also, because T-Mobile is the only major U.S. wireless company to stop requiring consumers to sign annual service contracts, customers have far more flexibility with how they buy and use wireless devices. Traditionally, getting a good deal on a new phone has meant agreeing to an expensive service for two years. Upgrades typically weren’t allowed (without significant upfront costs) until contracts expired, and it was often difficult to ascertain the true value of a device offer because it was tied to a long-term annual contract.

With T-Mobile’s un-restricted approach, customers can purchase great devices, pay for them in affordable, interest-free monthly installments, and upgrade anytime they like — not just when their carrier says it’s okay. Customers can even use their own unlocked device. Monthly statements are easy to understand since the price stays constant from month to month, and the device cost is clear and unmistakable.

Customers can find more information about T-Mobile’s Simple Choice Plan at nationwide T-Mobile retail stores, on http://www.T-Mobile.com, and through select dealers and national retail stores.

Un-Beatable Prices on LTE Devices

In tandem with the debut of its 4G LTE network service, T-Mobile also announced today that it will have several 4G LTE-capable devices available, including Samsung Galaxy S 4, BlackBerryZ10, HTC One, T-Mobile Sonic 2.0 Mobile HotSpot LTE and Samsung Galaxy Note II.

  • Samsung Galaxy S® 4 is the next generation of Samsung’s popular Galaxy line ofsmartphones. Exact pricing and timing of availability have not been announced, but the Galaxy S 4 will be available in the second quarter of this year.
  • BlackBerry® Z10 is T-Mobile’s first 4G LTE touchscreen smartphone featuring the redesigned, re-engineered BlackBerry® 10 platform, which continuously adapts to users’ needs. Starting today, the fastest and most advanced BlackBerry smartphone yet is available for qualifying customers for $99.99 down with 24 equal monthly payments of $18 for well-qualified buyers OAC. The BlackBerry Z10 is available through all T-Mobile channels. For more information about T-Mobile’s Z10, please visit Media Kit.
  • HTC One® is the first T-Mobile 4G LTE smartphone featuring new HTC Sense innovations, including HTC BlinkFeed, HTC Zoe and HTC BoomSound. Wrapped in a sleek full metal body, the HTC One will be available later this spring in all T-Mobile channels. For more information about HTC One, please visit Media Kit.
  • Samsung Galaxy Note® II. Current users of the popular Samsung Galaxy Note II can now take advantage of T-Mobile’s 4G LTE network via an over-the-air software update. For more information about this update and for complete download instructions, customers can visit T-Mobile’s support page at http://support.t-mobile.com/docs/DOC-4962. For more information about the Samsung Galaxy Note II, please visit Media Kit 
  • T-Mobile Sonic 2.0 Mobile HotSpot LTE is the first 4G LTE mobile hotspot from T-Mobile, providing simple and affordable on-the-go access to the Internet for up to eight devices. The T-Mobile Sonic 2.0 Mobile HotSpot LTE is available for $29.99 down with 24 equal monthly payments of $5 for well-qualified buyers OAC beginning today. It will be sold through all T-Mobile channels. For more information about the mobile hotspot, please visit Media Kit.

Un-Congested 4G Network

T-Mobile is moving at breakneck speed to expand the capabilities of its network.

Today, T-Mobile launched its state-of-the-art 4G LTE network in seven major metropolitan areas, including Baltimore; Houston; Kansas City; Las Vegas; Phoenix; San Jose, Calif.; and Washington, D.C.  The advanced 4G LTE network is expected to reach 100 million Americans by midyear and 200 million by the end of 2013.

T-Mobile is deploying the latest LTE technology, paving the way to LTE Advanced. T-Mobile’s 4G LTE deployment will complement its existing nationwide 4G network — which third-party tests show rivals or beats existing LTE networks — creating what T-Mobile expects to be the fastest 4G combination in the United States. T-Mobile 4G LTE devices will automatically and seamlessly transition to T-Mobile’s nationwide 4G where LTE has not yet launched.

T-Mobile Launches Un-carrier with Wild West Commercial

To underscore its Un-carrier attitude, T-Mobile today unveiled a new tagline, “T-Mobile un-leash.” In tandem, the company will roll out a new nationwide advertising campaign, beginning with a television commercial tomorrow that plays off the Western film genre. The new commercial features a group of four cowboys in black hats riding into a dusty town to the terror of its residents. As three of the cowboys tell town folk they’re going to have to “do what we say,” the fourth, representing T-Mobile, switches to a magenta-colored hat and rides in another direction, saying he “just doesn’t want to do this anymore.” The 60-second ad spot closes with one cowboy musing “I’m gonna miss the guy” while our hero simply states “Oh, I’ll be around.”

 

About T-Mobile USA:
Based in Bellevue, Wash., T-Mobile USA, Inc. is the U.S. wireless operation of Deutsche Telekom AG (OTCQX: DTEGY). By the end of the fourth quarter of 2012, approximately 132.3 million mobile customers were served by the mobile communication segments of the Deutsche Telekom group — 33.4 million by T-Mobile USA — all via a common technology platform based on GSM, HSPA+  and LTE. T-Mobile USA’s innovative wireless products and services help empower people to connect to those who matter most. For more information, please visit http://www.T-Mobile.com. T-Mobile is a federally registered trademark of Deutsche Telekom AG. For further information on Deutsche Telekom, please visit http://www.telekom.de/investor-relations.

Forward-Looking Statements:

This press release contains forward-looking statements that reflect the current views of Deutsche Telekom management with respect to future events. These forward-looking statements may include statements with regard to the expected development of revenue, earnings, profits from operations, depreciation and amortization, cash flows and personnel-related measures. You should consider them with caution. Such statements are subject to risks and uncertainties, most of which are difficult to predict and are generally beyond Deutsche Telekom’s control. Among the factors that might influence our ability to achieve our objectives are the progress of our workforce reduction initiative and other cost-saving measures, and the impact of other significant strategic, labor or business initiatives, including acquisitions, dispositions and business combinations, and our network upgrade and expansion initiatives. In addition, stronger than expected competition, technological change, legal proceedings and regulatory developments, among other factors, may have a material adverse effect on our costs and revenue development. Further, the economic downturn in our markets, and changes in interest and currency exchange rates, may also have an impact on our business development and the availability of financing on favorable conditions. Changes to our expectations concerning future cash flows may lead to impairment write downs of assets carried at historical cost, which may materially affect our results at the group and operating segment levels. If these or other risks and uncertainties materialize, or if the assumptions underlying any of these statements prove incorrect, our actual performance may materially differ from the performance expressed or implied by forward-looking statements. We can offer no assurance that our estimates or expectations will be achieved. Without prejudice to existing obligations under capital market law, we do not assume any obligation to update forward-looking statements to take new information or future events into account or otherwise.

In addition to figures prepared in accordance with IFRS, Deutsche Telekom also presents non-GAAP financial performance measures, including, among others, EBITDA, EBITDA margin, adjusted EBITDA, adjusted EBITDA margin, adjusted EBIT, adjusted net income, free cash flow, gross debt and net debt. These non-GAAP measures should be considered in addition to, but not as a substitute for, the information prepared in accordance with IFRS. Non-GAAP financial performance measures are not subject to IFRS or any other generally accepted accounting principles. Other companies may define these terms in different ways.

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T-Mobile Has The BlackBerry Z10 In Store Today in The USA

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T-Mobile will finally have the Z10 in stores today.  If you are in NYC, the first 10 people in line will get Alicia Keys tickets for her upcoming NYC gig and $25 off the new Z10, at the TMO store on 34th and 6th.  The phone is being offered for $531.99 and on contract. With the new “Simple Plan”, one can get a new Z10 for $99 down and $18/month for the phone with other costs for monthly usage. From the TMO site:

BlackBerry® Z10

T-Mobile’s new 4G LTE BlackBerry® Z10 is powered by BlackBerry® 10 – an intelligent and intuitive experience that constantly adapts to your needs. Every feature, every gesture, and every detail is designed with you in mind. Discover how BlackBerry® Z10 keeps you moving.
• Peek into BlackBerry® Hub from any app to see messages
• Type effortlessly on the new touchscreen BlackBerry® Keyboard
• Chat face-to-face and share screens with BBM™ Video and Screen Share

BlackBerry® Z10

Specs
    • Size:
    • 5.12 x 2.58 x 0.35 inches
    • Weight:
    • 4.83 ounces
    • Included battery:
    • 1800 mAh
  • Camera:
  • 8 Megapixel Camera
  • Video:
  • BBM™ Video with Screen Share
  • Talk time:
  • Up to 10 hours
  • Standby time:
  • Up to 13 days
  • Band (frequency):
  • UMTS: Band I (2100);UMTS: Band IV (AWS);UMTS: Band IV (1700/2100);UMTS: Band V (850);Quad Band GSM
What’s in the box?
  • Battery
  • Charger
  • SIM Card
  • T-Mobile Start Guide
  • RIM Safety Information Booklet
  • USB Cable

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T-Mobile Appears Set to go to the USA Consumer Market With the New BlackBerry Z10 on or after Wednesday, March 27, 2013.

T-Mobile cell phones, cell phone plans, and cell phone accessories

T-Mobile appears set to go to the USA consumer market with the new BlackBerry Z10 on or near Wednesday, March 27, 2013.  Sources have indicated,  that another large carrier to go to general market in the USA will be T-Mobile; technical changes are being finalized for MMS/other compliance of the software with the new BlackBerry Z10 that will no longer be using BlackBerry data compression via BIS, as per the OS 7 and other legacy devices. With the business sales on March 11, 2013, TMO was the first to offer  pre-orders for the Z10, even ahead of AT&T’s  March 15, 2013 availability.

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T-Mobile General USA Roll out of New BlackBerry Z10–week of March 18, 2013

(12:29 EST)

We know that TMO will start selling the new BlackBerry Z10 to its business customers this coming Monday, March 11, 2013.  Based on unofficial conversations, we anticipate TMO rolling the phone out to the general USA public/in market stores the week of March 18, 2013.  This would be in line with TMO’s desire to go to market first with the Z10, ahead of AT&T and Verizon.  Retail Sales Associates had access to the on-line  training portal and were required to start and complete Z10/OS 10 training as of two weeks ago.  Thus, TMO is ready to go in-store with the Z10, apparently,  having cleared final certifications ahead of the other USA carriers.  With the business sales on March 11, 2013, TMO will be the first to go “in store” with the Z10, even ahead of AT&T’s alleged March 15, 2013 availability.

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