More Carriers Jumping on Windows Phone 8 Bandwagon

It seems that the major U.S. mobile operators are ready to start offering Windows Phone 8 handsets -- and not just to be polite to Nokia (NYSE: NOK  ) and any other WP8 smartphone producers. Executives from three carriers were almost falling over themselves at the Mobile Future Forward conference in Seattle to offer praise and support for Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) mobile operating system.

Glenn Lurie, the man at AT&T (NYSE: T  ) who checks out all new devices before they're put on the carrier's shelves, said, "I'm bullish on Windows 8 ... it's hard to bet against a tablet that does what your PC and desktop will do."

Brad Duea, a VP at T-Mobile USA, sees a lot of potential in Windows Phone 8, saying, "it's exciting."

Agreeing with Lurie was Sprint Nextel's (NYSE: S  ) president of network operations, Steve Elfman. But Elfman tempered that enthusiasm with this caveat: "Adoption is key." By that he means that WP8 will need to power a lot of phones and tablets before it can become a true competitor to the iPhone and Google's Android-powered phones.

Verizon began -- publicly, anyway -- this increased carrier interest in Windows Phone 8 when it told The Wall Street Journal last week it would grow its lineup of Windows Phone 8 handsets. A Verizon spokeswoman soon after confirmed that the carrier had an agreement with Nokia but wouldn't go into further details.

Nokia is seen as the primary producer of Windows-Phone-driven phones, though Samsung recently jumped into the WP8 pool, too, in a rather splashy way.

Help wanted: a third smartphone ecosystem
As just about everyone must have heard by now, Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) is launching its next iteration of the iPhone, an event that is expected to cause quite a spike in iPhone sales. On the surface, this must seem like a license to print money for the mobile carriers, with thousands waiting in line to become one of the first to get the latest iPhone.

Alas, because of the high subsidies the carriers must pay Apple for the right to stock the iPhone, each sale means profit margins are shaved just a bit more. Can you imagine the kind of pricing power Apple would have if it weren't for the Android phones?

But the carriers would like a third viable smartphone ecosystem to put more competitive pricing pressure on the smartphone producers, hence this statement from Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam last week, according to CNET: "The carriers are beginning to coalesce around the need for a third ecosystem. ... [O]ver the next 12 months I think ... you will start to see one emerge."

With the recent statements, it looks as if the first-tier U.S. carriers could be throwing their resources behind Windows Phone 8 as that third ecosystem.

If Windows Phone 8 does take off, it could be huge for Microsoft. The Redmond, Wash., company needs to redefine itself for the mobile-computing world. Can it once again be the 900-pound gorilla of the tech world, or will it forever remain in Apple's shadow? This Motley Fool premium report will help you decided whether Microsoft is worthy of your investing dollars -- or not. Get it today!

Fool contributor Dan Radovsky owns shares of Nokia and AT&T. The Motley Fool owns shares of Microsoft and Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Microsoft and Apple and creating a synthetic covered call position in Microsoft and a bull call spread position in Apple. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


Read/Post Comments (3) | Recommend This Article (5)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On September 13, 2012, at 5:43 PM, chilero wrote:

    Was there ever any doubt? MSFT and NOK do not get enough credit for being truly innovative in the mobile space with Windows Phone 8 and the Lumia 920 respectively.

    All we hear over and over is how innovative an extra row of static icons are on the iPhone5.

    I believe that you are going to see some good market share gains when Windows Phone 8 hits. It would be nice to see 10% - 15% share in the US by this time next year.

    I won't call it a true success until I hear Joe Magyer and Jason Moser proclaiming on Marketfoolery that they themselves have bought, are using and loving their Windows Phones ;)

  • Report this Comment On September 13, 2012, at 6:09 PM, SuntanIronMan wrote:

    @chilero

    Yes, there was doubt. Nokia hasn't exactly been known for its US-carrier relationships. And Windows Phone 7 was not much of a carrier favorite either. I am glad to hear that the carriers are pushing more hardware/OS options, but yes, there was definitely doubt before this.

  • Report this Comment On September 13, 2012, at 8:25 PM, chilero wrote:

    @WhichStocksWork

    Sorry my comment "Was there ever any doubt?" was tongue in cheek as there are so many skeptics here at the Motley Fool on the future of MSFT in mobile. I however did not have any doubt after trying, using and developing for Windows Phone.

Add your comment.

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 2015076, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 10/2/2014 12:55:56 PM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...


Advertisement