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Nokia reportedly footing the bill to put Lumia 900s in AT&T employee pockets

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

While the launch date has shifted several times over the past two months, BGR reported in January that the Lumia 900 would become available from AT&T at a shocking $99.99 price point — the lowest launch price for a flagship phone in recent history. The handset’s release will be accompanied by a marketing and advertising blitz aiming to familiarize the U.S. with Windows Phone, but educating the sales staff at AT&T stores and encouraging them to pitch the handset is a crucial piece of the puzzle that could lead to the device’s success. Nokia is reportedly taking things one step further — wpcentral on Friday reports that Nokia will finance a program allowing AT&T sales staff to trade in their current handsets for a brand new Lumia 900 at no cost. The program, which will see AT&T employees turn in iPhones and Android handsets for the Lumia 900, will reportedly cost Nokia as much as $25 million. BGR took a hands-on look at the AT&T’s upcoming flagship Windows Phone during the annual Consumer Electronics Show, and we described it as a gorgeous handset that improves upon the already-great Lumia 800.

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BlackBerry 7 launch: Weak AT&T sales, healthy Sprint sales according to RBC

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

Sales of Research In Motion’s new BlackBerry 7 smartphones have been mixed out of the gate according to one analyst, with AT&T showing weak sell-through while Sprint stores have shown healthy sales to end users. In a note to investors on Wednesday, RBC Capital Markets Managing Director Mike Abramsky wrote that the majority of subscribers who purchased BlackBerry 7 smartphones during their first two days of availability were upgrading from older BlackBerry models rather than switching from other platforms. Checks performed by RBC at 40 retail stores found that the sales of the AT&T’s BlackBerry Torch 9810 were light while the Bold 9930 sold well at Sprint, with the phone having been sold out at 20% of the stores contacted. Initial inventory at each of the 40 stores is unknown. Abramsky also commented on U.S. carrier support, noting that AT&T and Sprint appear more supportive with aggressive pricing of RIM’s new devices, while Verizon and T-Mobile’s less competitive pricing might have a negative impact on sales. Read on for more.

Abramsky notes that while early checks indicate that BlackBerry 7 device sales could have a positive impact on RIM’s earnings, device sales alone will likely not be enough to reverse the negative sentiment surrounding RIM that is common among investors. Instead, the analyst writes, the success or failure of upcoming QNX devices expected in 2012 will have a much greater impact with investors. The firm’s initial checks suggest that RIM is headed toward RBC’s base case EPS scenario of between $4.75 (8% below the Street’s consensus) and $5.60 (9% above the Street) in fiscal 2012. Abramsky reiterated his Sector Perform rating on RIM stock.

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AT&T’s brewing HSUPA-gate: the inside story

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

Though it really came to a head with the recently-launched Inspire 4G, users have noticed that there really aren’t many phones in AT&T’s stable that deliver stellar upload speeds — the Atrix 4G is suffering the same sub-megabit performance, as are older devices that should seemingly support HSUPA like the Samsung Captivate.

We’ve chatted in the past few days with a source who offers an interesting explanation: AT&T currently requires that all handsets that it sells “handshake” with the network as 3GPP Release 5 devices, the last official set of 3G specifications that lacked support for HSUPA. That feature — also known as EDCH, or FDD Enhanced Uplink — was added in Release 6. Though AT&T is apparently working on permitting the bulk of its handsets to handshake Release 6, presently only the iPhone 4 (and presumably all of its recent data devices like USB modems, which may also use Release 7) are allowed. Neither we, nor our source, know why this is. Our source believes that the Release 6 certification may happen within a “month or two,” which would explain why some AT&T sales reps in live HSPA+ areas are telling customers that the “4G network” isn’t live yet.

You can form your own conclusions as to why AT&T might be imposing this arbitrary limitation, but we do know that “enhanced” backhaul figures prominently into the company’s 4G story; there may be concerns that flipping on HSUPA for everyone right now would overwhelm its legacy infrastructure. At any rate, it sounds like this could all be solved soon through a combination of network changes and possibly firmware updates for individual devices, so let’s keep our fingers crossed.

[Thanks to everyone who sent this in]

AT&T’s brewing HSUPA-gate: the inside story originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 23 Feb 2011 14:28:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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