Despite calls for an iPhone and Android alternative, European carriers are not sold on Nokia Lumia range yet

Reuters reports that they have spoken to 4 major European carriers, and found them unimpressed with Nokia’s Lumia range.

Despite strong early demand for the Nokia Lumia 900 in USA, European operators have complained that the Nokia Lumia range in Europe is overpriced and in low demand.

A spokesman for an operator who did not want to be named said: "If they could lower the price we think they could sell more. It might be worth making it a bit of a loss leader to get it out of the door. It’s not rocket science."

Operators also complained of lack of Microsoft marketing presence.

"The operators say to Nokia: ‘We will try to bail you out if you and Microsoft come with the marketing money,’" says telecom consultant John Strand. "But even if the operators start to give away the Nokias for free, it will not make Nokia a success," said Strand, who works with many of the top European carriers.

One device chief at a European operator agreed. "We can open our stores to them and train our staff to sell the phones, but that’s it," he said.

"Ultimately, Nokia and Windows are challengers and they either need to come to market with a really disruptive, innovative product or a huge marketing budget to create client demand. So far they have done neither."

"Nokia have given themselves a double challenge: to restore their credibility in terms of making hardware smartphones and succeed with the Microsoft Windows operating system, which lags in the market," an executive said.

He said Microsoft’s software worked nicely with PCs and allowed you "to do tonnes of cool things" but few customers knew this. "If the Lumia with the same hardware came with Android in it and not Windows, it would be much easier to sell," he said.

"No one comes into the store and asks for a Windows phone," said an executive in charge of mobile devices at a European operator, which has sold the Lumia 800 and 710 since December.

Operators however want a viable alternative to Apple and Android, not only to offer customers more choice but to give them a stronger bargaining position with phone manufacturers.

"It’s good for operators if we can reduce the dominance of Apple," said a spokesman for a second telecoms carrier, who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of relations with mobile phone makers.

U.S. operators buy about 90 percent of mobiles while their European peers buy 50-70 percent, according to market researcher Gartner and Bernstein Research.

Ironically Reuters found more enthusiasm for Nokia Lumia in USA than in Europe, where the company has a larger traditional base.

T-Mobile USA says the Lumia 710 is among its most popular phones, while AT&T said the Lumia 900 had sold out in many stores.

“We don’t put this weight behind every launch," said an AT&T spokesman

At a shop in New York, a sales associate pointed out the Lumia to a Reuters reporter, saying it was AT&T’s newest phone and many people had been asking for it. However, at a France Telecom store in Paris, Lumia models were not prominently displayed and a sales clerk was quick to offer one shopper an iPhone first. She then presented a range of Android smartphones made by Samsung and HTC.

According to a leaked road map and actual announced releases both Microsoft and Nokia will be concentrating on releasing low-end cheaper Windows Phones in Q2 and Q3, such as the Nokia Lumia 610 running Windows Phone Tango, but expects to fight back with more impressive devices in Q4 2012 with the advent of Windows Phone 8.

Read more at Reuters here.

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