Nokia Says Lumia 800 U.K. Sales Are Better Than Suggested

Nokia Oyj (NOK1V) said its Lumia 800 smartphone is selling better than suggested by an analyst report from Pacific Crest Securities Inc. this week.

“Based on earliest data, the sales start of the Lumia 800 is the best ever first week of Nokia smartphone sales in the U.K. in recent history,” spokesman Doug Dawson said by e-mail.

The Lumia 800 and 710 are Nokia’s first models to use Microsoft Corp. (MSFT)’s Windows Phone operating system. Nokia released them on Nov. 16 in the U.K. as part of a rollout to six European countries this month. James Faucette, an analyst at Pacific Crest, said in a Nov. 21 report that Nokia would probably ship less than 1 million Lumias in the fourth quarter. Nokia’s shares fell 8.8 percent the next day.

“We need to remember that the Lumia is shipping in only part of the channels, and only for a few weeks before Christmas, so quarterly volume will be quite low,” Michael Schroeder, a Helsinki-based analyst at FIM Bank said today. “I’m using 1 million units as my working figure but I won’t think it’s a big upside or downside surprise if it’s 700,000 or 1.5 million.”

He will instead be watching the quality of early reports on the device and the level of operator support, which he said are encouraging so far. “I’m now a lot more confident of Nokia’s ability to stop the slide in smartphones than I was in February when they announced the strategy,” he said.

Nokia shares were little changed at 4.19 euros as of 4:23 p.m. in Helsinki trading.

‘Strong Start’

“The Lumia had a strong start in the U.K. in terms of advertising, and some stores sold out the first day, but I would urge caution at this stage,” said Ben Wood, a London-based analyst at CCS Insight. “It will take several weeks before we have a clear reading on how well the device is selling in the U.K. and the other European markets Nokia is targeting.”

Nokia’s last hit smartphone was the N95, which sold more than 10 million units in the two years after it started shipping in March 2007. The company shipped 16.8 million smartphones in the third quarter of this year.

The 420-euro ($562) Lumia 800 is also on sale in Spain, Italy and the Netherlands, where it was listed as the second- best-selling handset after Apple Inc.’s iPhone on operator KPN NV’s website. The 270-euro Lumia 710 is scheduled for release in Russia and selected Asian markets by the end of the year.

Nokia’s share of smartphone sales by handsets was more than 50 percent when Apple introduced the iPhone in 2007, according to researcher Gartner Inc. That number could slide to less than 10 percent before Nokia has a sufficient range of Windows Phone handsets to build momentum, Schroeder said.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Diana ben-Aaron at dbenaaron1@bloomberg.net

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