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AT&T to offer Nokia Lumia 900 for $100 on March 18

AT&T is getting aggressive with the pricing of the first Nokia Windows Phone sold on the carrier's network with a price tag of $99.99 with a two-year contract, sources have told CNET.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, and AT&T mobility chief Ralph de la Vega show off Nokia's new Lumia 900.
Lori Grunin/CNET

Nokia's CEO Stephen Elop wasn't kidding when he said at the launch of the new Lumia 900 Windows Phone at CES that pricing for the device would be competitive.

The new Lumia 900, which had been announced earlier this month at CES for AT&T's network, will sell for $99.99 with a two-year service contract starting March 18, sources with knowledge of the launch plans told CNET. The Boy Genius Report first reported the pricing and launch date of the device as part of a leaked road map from AT&T the site said it received.

The $99.99 price tag for the device is sure to entice some wireless subscribers who may also be considering a new Google Android or Apple iPhone. This low price might not be shocking for an entry-level smartphone. T-Mobile USA is offering Nokia's Lumia 710 for $49. But the Lumia 900 is no entry-level device.

It's packed full of high-end features. It's the first Windows Phone smartphone to support 4G LTE for speedy Web surfing and downloads. It also has a top-notch camera with Carl Zeiss optics, an F2.2 aperture lens with a 28mm focal length, and dual LED flash. And it has a front-facing camera, 16GB of internal memory, and a polycarbonate case available in black or blue. And at 4.3 inches, the Lumia 900's screen is bigger than the iPhone 4S' 3.5-inch screen.

Comparable Android devices, such as the Motorola Droid Bionic and Samsung Galaxy Nexus, which also support 4G LTE, debuted with $299 price tags. And the popular iPhone 4S, which is Apple's latest iPhone, starts at $199 with a two-year contract.

Nokia's new Lumia 900
Nokia's new Lumia 900 Nokia

AT&T and Nokia each declined to comment.

Nokia and AT&T are clearly making a statement by pricing the Lumia 900 so low right out of the gate. For wireless consumers curious about Windows Phone, the $100 price tag on this very advanced Nokia phone makes the Lumia 900 hard to resist. It will be interesting to see if the low price point on such a feature-packed phone will draw new consumers and possibly some first-time smartphone customers to the Windows Phone platform.

The one thing that could hold back the Lumia 900, as well as other Windows Phones, is the limited inventory of apps. Microsoft has made great strides in working with developers and getting new apps in its marketplace. It said recently there are more than 50,000 in its store. But it is still missing some popular apps, such as the Scrabble-like game Words with Friends. Google Android and Apple have more than a million apps between them in their app stores.

That said, aggressive pricing could still spur more adoption on Windows Phone, which will ultimately lead to better app availability.