Handset maker Nokia has begun using the Web to sell to U.S. customers both cell phones and wireless service plans. Motorola and Kyocera Wireless have also opened similar U.S. online stores.
The online stores are a new way for handset makers to get into the U.S. market, where most cell phones are sold by wireless carriers. Handset makers turned to the Web this year, hoping to break the traditional carrier stranglehold, but so far they've had little luck. Just 3 percent of all cell phones are sold over the Web, whether sold by device makers or carriers, according to research from The Yankee Group.