Nokia Views European 4G as Growth Area for Smartphones

As the holiday season picks up, Nokia views the European 4G market as a potential area for strong growth in smartphone sales.

Apple and Samsung currently boast 90% of the European smartphone market, while Nokia's stock has conversely dropped as much as 90% in the five years since Apple released the iPhone, according to a report from Bloomberg, via research from Strategy Analytics. 

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Nokia has long struggled to find a place in the smartphone while maintaining less profitable sales on its lower end cellphone models. Recently, the Finnish company released twoower-end cellphone models, the Asha 205 and the 206, however its brightest hopes are set on the future of its Lumia 920 and 820 smartphones. 

According to the Bloomberg report, Nokia sees a critical opportunity in Europe this holiday season as potential buyers weigh the performance, feature, and network capabilities of various models. 

Based on reports from Strategy Analytics, Nokia's Lumia 820 and Lumia 920 models are already available on more than two dozen LTE mobile networks in Western Europe, while LTE connectivity on Apple's iPhone 5 is concentrated in the United States, with only two European carriers. As congestion on European 3G networks continues to rise, the report indicates that Nokia's edge in LTE could figure as a priority for smartphone shoppers this holiday season. 

While Nokia shares have risen 21% over the past two weeks following reports that the Lumia 920 sold out of its initial stock German stores, LTE is unlikely enough on its own to put a major dent in Apple and Samsung's effective duopoly. The inclusion of Windows Phone 8 on the new Nokia smartphones, in addition to Nokia's advanced mapping suite with offline access, are additional features that could attract new customers. 

As noted last month, Android-based smartphones took a global lead in the third quarter of 2012, displacing Apple to take a 75% share worldwide.  

The partnership between Nokia and Microsoft presents arguably the best current challenge to both Apple and Samsung, and while eroding such a huge a share of the market may be unlikely, there appears to be definite interest in the Lumia-WP8 offerings. Focusing on a distinct geographic region such as Western Europe, which plays to Nokia's advantages, looks to be the company's best chance to carve a place in a growing market.