New Nokia Smartphones Will Be Sold in U.S. Market

 

With excitement building among rabid Nokia phones fans for the brand’s imminent global revival as an Android smartphone maker, there’s a bit of confusion about just where the new line of devices will be sold.

But U.S. fans should not fret. The new line will be available here soon.

HMD Global, the Finnish start up that licensed the brand, last month unveiled three new, low-cost smartphone models and a modernized candy bar phone—a reprise of famous Nokia 3310—with a promise to start selling them in 120 markets in the second quarter. After questions about which countries would be included and when—and with some low-end phone maker forsaking the U.S. market—the company said last week in a brief statement that the phones would be sold worldwide all at once.

At the Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona last month, some HMD officials were even clearer that the U.S. market was on their list for immediate sales. Although the startup has been in business for less than a year, it’s filled with longtime Nokia veterans from the decades when the company was the top phone brand in the world.

“The U.S. is a very important market for us, so when we say that we’ll go worldwide, we’ll go in more than 120 markets including of course also U.S.,” Pekka Rantala, HMD’s chief marketing officer, told Fortune at MWC.

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Rantala spent 17 years at Nokia, rising to head of marketing. He left when the business was sold to Microsoft (MSFT, +0.23%) and then ran Rovio Entertainment, creator of the popular Angry Birds mobile game, before joining HMD last August.

There’s a lot of excitement for the Nokia revival in the United States, according to tracking of mentions on social media and other indicators, Rantala said. And when Nokia made its old school Snake video game available to play via Facebook Messenger, the largest number of players were from the United States, he added.

The startup can pull off the simultaneous global rollout because HMD has so many experienced people on staff from the old Nokia (NOK, +1.69%) days, he said.

“They have the relationships when it comes to both a professional and also personal level in many parts of the world,” Rantala said. “Many people are asking at which countries do you start. I think we start everywhere, because we have the readiness and we have partners who can supply us.”

The new phone line, which is manufactured by a unit of iPhone-maker Foxconn, starts with the Nokia 6 with a 5.5-inch screen and selling for 229 euros, or about $242. A slightly smaller Nokia 5, with a 5.2-inch screen, will go for 189 euros, or $200, and 5-inch model called the Nokia 3 will sell for just 139 euros or under $150. All three models rely on Google’s (GOOGL, -0.20%) Android software.

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More models at higher and lower prices will be forthcoming eventually, Rantala said. “I’m not saying when, but it’s clear that we are going to evolve the portfolio downwards and upwards because the brand gives is permission to be present in all the price points,” he said.

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