Finnish smartphone giant Nokia (NYSE: NOK ) already had one advantage over Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL ) in a key geographical region, but now it has another.
In Europe, Nokia boasts much broader support for 4G LTE data speeds, while the newest iPhone 5 is only compatible with two LTE networks in the continent. That potentially puts Apple out of the question from the get-go for consumers placing a high value on LTE compatibility.
In China, Nokia has now announced it has scored the biggest wireless carrier, China Mobile (NYSE: CHL ) , who will be offering a slightly modified version of its newest flagship device. The Lumia 920 was unveiled in September, and the Lumia 920T is a variant that's compatible with China Mobile's unique 3G TD-SCDMA network.
The device will be the first Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT ) Windows Phone device that supports TD-SCDMA, and the first Lumia device running the platform geared toward the Chinese market. Kantar Worldpanel ComTech's most recent figures peg Microsoft's smartphone market share in urban China at 4.2%, and getting exposure to the largest carrier in the country could boost that figure.
This comes just days after HTC launched its Windows Phone 8X and 8S devices on China Unicom (NYSE: CHU ) . Other Windows Phone OEMs like Huawei and Samsung also have devices incoming, but have yet to launch. Windows Phone 8 will now be available on the two largest Chinese carriers.
Nokia said the Lumia 920T will be available to order before year's end and will retail for 4,599 yuan ($739) without contract. That puts the device right in line with Apple's unsubsidized iPhone pricing, which starts at 4,488 yuan ($721). That's for the older iPhone 4S, while the iPhone 5 launches next week.
Apple has yet to ink an official partnership with China Mobile, in part due to the unique network standards. Analysts are expecting a deal to be announced late next year. Until then, Nokia now has another one up on Apple.
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