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O2 chief: Nokia smartphones "too expensive"

Nokia's handsets like the Lumia 800 are too pricey, according to O2's head honcho. But the company is beginning to listen, he said.

Nokia handsets like the Lumia 800 are too expensive, according to  Simon Lee-Smith, a top bod at Telefonica, parent company of operator O2.

The Finnish company needs to bring the price down if it wants to sell in bulk, he said, though he did add it was "beginning to listen," and that next year would see "more commercially effective" devices. Maybe it's not all bad for Nokia then.

Lee-Smith, European general manager for devices at Telefonica, told Telecoms.com that Nokia's high-end devices are "not yet at the right price point." If Nokia wants to sell in volume, they need to "bring out devices which are cost-competitive," he said.

Nokia unveiled the Lumia 800 and Lumia 710 at Nokia World last month, both of which run Microsoft's Windows Phone operating system. The 800 will cost around £450 sim-free, or will come free on a two-year £26 a month contract. The iPhone 4S, meanwhile, sells for £500 on pay as you go.

Lee-Smith said the problem didn't lie just with Nokia. "All device manufacturers seem to think that a 400 euro-plus device is the norm," he said. "Well, it isn't. Customers and operators won't pay that cost for a device which doesn't differentiate sufficiently," he added.

Nokia also unveiled a roster of low-price handsets for the developing world. Lee-Smith said the company had to milk this particular cash cow. "I hope they're successful with that," he said. "They need to be able to subsidise their high end smart phones, because they're too expensive."

Lee-Smith's opinion might well explain why the Lumia 800 isn't available on O2.

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