In response to an enterprising fellow on the maemo forums who asked Stephen Elop about N9 availability in the UK, this blog thought it would try and sharpen up the response by sending off another email asking specifically about carrier availability.
Mr Elop very obligingly replied.
My email sent this afternoon:
Dear Mr Elop,
Please understand that I am not writing to you to rant about the WP7 direction, I accept the fact that Nokia did not believe Meego would bring them the level of success deemed necessary, rather I am worried that Nokia’s WP7 marketing strategy will prevent me from acquiring a Nokia N9 on a typical carrier subsidised contract within the UK.
I have no doubt that I will be able to buy an N9 from etailers such as Play.com, etc, but the N900 which I have happily used since its UK launch was £450 sim-free when it arrived, whereas my T-mobile contract with an unlocked handset was £110 upfront followed by eighteen payments of £20, or £470 in total. I am very keen to own and use a Nokia N9 but question why, in the UK, I would willingly pay the RRP for a phone when I can get it along with eighteen months of calls, texts and internet for £20 more.
I understand that you would urge me to have a closer look at Nokia’s new, and no doubt innovative, WP7 handsets that will be arriving in the near future, but I remain uninterested in them just as I remain uninterested in iPhones or Android phones. I merely seek reassurance that Nokia’s UK product support for the N9 will not preclude UK carriers from offering this handset on contract?
If you can offer this reassurance then I will be a very happy person, and can promise to remain a happy Nokia customer for years to come.
The response just a few hours later:
I can’t comment on what specific operators may or may not do in each country – many of those decisions are happening right now for the latter part of the year. In all cases, the operators will make decisions about which products will be made available, with which rate plans, etc. Each operator in each country only has so many “slots”, and they divide those up between ourselves and our competitors, and within Nokia they can mix between N9, Windows Phone, Symbian, etc. Right now, many of the larger operators are showing a strong preference towards WP…
Here is a screenshot of the email:
It was a pretty straight question, and it appears to be a pretty straight answer, which if considered as such reads: The carriers will decide whether the N9 is available on contract, not us.
If it remains a carrier decision, and nothing in Nokia’s (lack of) specific-market support inhibits their choice, then this blogger will remain a happy chap.
Update – Further clarification
Thank you very much for the swift reply, it is greatly appreciated.
Just to quickly clarify; do I understand correctly that the availability of N9 handsets on carrier-contracts in the UK will be determined by carrier interest in the N9, vis-a-vis other Nokia smartphone handsets, and not by Nokia themselves?
I am quite content that the N9 compete for the attention of carriers.
To which the reply came:
Ultimately, the operator makes all decisions about which products they make available.
Thank you Mr Elop, this may not quite be my dream outcome for Nokia/Meego, but as long as you do not stand in my way I shan’t complain.