The Dec. 5 news coming out of Nokia's (NYSE:NOK) Finnish headquarters announcing its partnership with China Mobile (NYSE:CHL) gave shareholders a big-time boost. As it turns out, making Nokia's Lumia 920T smartphone available to China Mobile's 700 million customers was just the tip of the iceberg.
Granted, it's early, but Lumia 920T sales are off to a rousing start, and the potential seems almost limitless. You've likely heard that Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Nokia partner AT&T (NYSE:T) both sold out of their online stock of Lumia phones in the U.S. And with Nokia's variety of smartphone offerings at different price points, its product lineup remains a key differentiator from one of the leaders in the industry, Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) high-end iPhones. Now the 920T is getting an extra boost from China Mobile.
The Chinese are going to love this
For American consumers, it's difficult to imagine paying full price for smartphones -- plopping down $350 for the latest Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Nexus? Not likely. Apple's iPhone 5 and the Samsung Galaxy S III are even more expensive, though the subsidies paid by domestic mobile carriers may end at some point (see T-Mobile's decision to carry iPhones without a subsidy).
Which brings us to the latest news coming out of China. China Mobile is taking pre-orders of the Lumia 920T at the $740 price point until it receives stock from Nokia in January of 2013. However, China Mobile announced that it intends to subsidize the cost of the 920T for customers that sign up for a two-year data plan. What'll the Lumia cost customers, after subsidies, in China? All of 1 yuan.
Now that's a deal
At about $740 a pop, the potential volume becomes astronomical when that same phone is offered to customers for what amounts to free. Add the Chinese Lumia smartphone giveaway to Nokia's growing list of upsides, and Nokia's prospects in 2013 are getting seriously interesting.