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Nokia to make carriers partners on Windows Phone, report says

The mobile company will reportedly try to sign exclusive deals for its Windows Phone 8 device and give carriers a piece of its revenue to help promote its devices.

Josh Miller/CNET

Nokia is considering trying something new to jumpstart its declining mobile business, according to a new report.

The mobile company is currently in talks with European carriers to sign an exclusive partnership for its upcoming Windows Phone 8-based device, the Financial Times is reporting today, citing sources. The deals could see Nokia's devices offered on fewer networks, and give carriers a piece of the revenue its handsets generate. The idea, according to the Financial Times, is for carriers to receive financial incentives to actively promote Nokia products.

If Nokia is indeed following such a strategy, it would mark a notable shift in the company's distribution strategy. Nokia currently attempts to bring its devices to as many carriers as possible. The idea is that the more places its devices are available, the greater the chances of registering sales. But as the company's recent performance has shown, its current strategy is in need of repair.

Nokia last week reported a $1.7 billion loss during the second quarter on $9.23 billion in sales. Although the company acknowledged it was a "difficult quarter," it told investors that its Windows Phone 8 devices "will be an important catalyst for Lumia," the company's Windows Phone line.

Allowing carriers to receive a portion of its revenue for all devices sold might not be such a bad idea for Nokia. Carriers are offered no such deal from Apple, and there is rampant speculation across the mobile space that the telephone companies would like to see Windows Phone gain more market share so Apple and Google wield less influence. By providing incentives to the carriers, Nokia might be able to get more marketing help than it received with its first Lumia devices. And with more marketing help could come stronger sales.

Still, marketing is just one piece of the puzzle. Consumers today want the complete phone package, including a strong design, solid software, and the right price. Whether Nokia will deliver that when its Windows Phone 8 devices launch remains to be seen.

CNET contacted Nokia for comment on the Financial Times report. We will update this story when we have more information.