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Mobile operators across the world are angered by the way Apple treats them, and are hoping Nokia can help curb the firm’s stronghold in the smartphone space. The claim comes from Northstream, a management consultancy firm that works with carriers worldwide. CEO Bengt Nordström explained that in the firm’s discussions with operators, Apple’s attitude towards them is often cited as a point of discontent.
November 25, 2011
Mobile operators across the world are angered by the way Apple treats them, and are hoping Nokia can help curb the firm’s stronghold in the smartphone space, according to industry consultant Bengt Nordström.
Nordström’s management consultancy Northstream works with carriers worldwide and he explained that in the firm’s discussions with operators, Apple’s attitude towards them is often cited as a point of discontent.
“When we hear about operators and how Apple treats them – they’ve never seen anything like that before in the industry,” he said “It’s always been a buyer’s market.
“[Carriers] have been the kings of the hill; they have been ruling everything, and when somebody comes around and begins to dictate the situation, questioning whether operators should be approved for selling iPhones and asking: “Are you good enough to sell our products?” – that conflicts with the view operators have of themselves.”
He said that mobile operators have been taken aback by having to jump through hoops for Apple: signing large numbers of NDAs and satisfying Apple’s complex criteria in order to gain the right to sell its products.
Beyond that, there are also technical problems associated with iPhones that makes users’ perception of the network quality negative, he said.
“Many of those problems are caused by Apple – it’s their technical solutions, such as their poor radio antennae. But when operators try to bring that to Apple’s attention, they get ignored.”
It is for these reasons that there is a resounding desire from the operator community to see Nokia meet with success in the smartphone space with its Windows Phone handsets, said Nordström. Nokia’s Windows-based Lumia 800 handset has recently been launched in some European markets, with more markets to follow, while the Lumia 710 has been launched in some Asian markets.
“[Nokia] would be much more operator-friendly, they would have revenue share with the operators and they will listen to operator requirements,” said Nordström.
“But the fact is, it’s the customer that decides. The end user doesn’t have the same opinion of Apple – it’s the opposite – people love Apple. So whatever operators think, they will still have to support Apple and accept its way of doing business.”
Nordström believes that operators would also like to see Nokia challenge Google’s dominance as well. However, breaking Apple and Google’s supremacy will be a tall order for Nokia, he admits.
“It all depends on the consumer. And I’m not certain at all that what Nokia is doing is good enough,” he said. “The focus is too strong on the operating system, but there are so many other things with Nokia that don’t work well, particularly the management aspects. It has a complicated organisational structure and it has long lead time for making decisions, with those problems, it doesn’t matter what OS they use.”
He added that he doesn’t see anything with Nokia’s new handsets that stands out above competitors’ offerings.
“It’s really just on par with what is already out there. They have come in at this stage, and price is now low, because Nokia has already lost its premium tag. There was a time that people wanted to be seen with Nokia, but that time has gone.”
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