Canadian carriers and dealers happy with Nokia Lumia sales

Daniel Bader

March 27, 2012 8:40pm


It was never a given that the Lumia brand would do much to right the lurching Nokia chip in North America, but based on feedback we’ve received from carriers and dealers, we have every reason to believe the reception has been largely positive. While a carrier would likely never admit to poor sales of a specific product, all the people I’ve spoken to have been categorically upbeat about the Lumia series.

“Rogers is proud to have the widest selection of choice for our customers. The Lumia 710 is proving to be a customer favourite and has been a great addition to our Smartphone Lite lineup. We’re also very excited to be the exclusive carrier of the Lumia 900, Canada’s first Windows Phone LTE smartphone,” said Reade Barber, Senior Director Data Product Management at Rogers.

Nokia’s Lumia series, which encompasses the inexpensive Rogers Lumia 710 and the flagship TELUS Lumia 800, are wildcards in a Canadian climate still enamoured with the iPhone, entrenched with the BlackBerry and growing fonder of Android. Unlike in the U.S., where BlackBerry’s market share has plummeted to under 10%, it is still the King of the Hill in Canada.

But after speaking with several Rogers dealers, commenting under anonymity, most of them are surprised by the swift sales of the Lumia 710. One dealer said, “I sold quite a few and it’s a great Windows based phone. We sell quite a lot because in the Corporate market, [where] this handset is $0 on a voice only or voice/data plan for most companies we deal with. [The phone comes with a] free 1hr Nokia Technical Support session where the Nokia agent will answer any questions for the Lumia.” Another dealer said, “[It's a] very good unit, we sold a bunch,” likely because the phone is so cheap. Only one dealer said that he hadn’t sold many, but those customers were very happy with them.

Rogers sells the Lumia 710 for $29.99 on a 3-year term and $255 outright as a part of its Smartphone Lite lineup. It’s a competitive price for a device that trounces most of the similarly-placed Android devices by a wide margin. But when you ask the average person walking down the street if they’ve ever used, or even heard of, Windows Phone, and you’ll likely get a blank stare. Nokia has entered the landscape in an attempt to change this.

TELUS’ Brent Johnston, VP of Mobility Solutions, was more pointed in his comments on sales of the $29.99 Lumia 800: “We are very pleased with the sales performance thus far, with Lumia sales meeting our expectations.” Whether those expectations were low to begin with is not yet known, but despite the warm response I have yet to see any Lumias in the wild.

That being said, I have been using the cyan Lumia 800 as my daily driver for a few weeks now, and whenever I take it out of my pocket in public, I usually get at least one person asking me about it. After I briefly explain the lineage (Nokia), the OS (Windows Phone), the benefits (speed, form factor, camera), the drawbacks (apps, notifications), the majority of people are wildly positive about it. Those that aren’t are typically happy with their phone choice, be it an iPhone or high-end Android and find no reason to change. Those that are most excited about it are low- to mid-range Android and BlackBerry users, tired of the constant performance issues.

This is a wide open market, especially as the BlackBerry brand starts to recede in Canada. Nokia is pricing the Lumia ridiculously low, and we’re expecting the Lumia 900 to launch at under $100 on a 3-year term, too. Microsoft has committed millions of dollars to promoting Windows Phone around the world, and is pumping money into developers’ hands for hero apps that the platform desperately needs.

More than anything, though, it is the carriers’ responsibility to communicate the benefits of Windows Phone to their customers. Both Rogers and TELUS seem to be doing this to some extent, with large displays in-store and prominent placements of the devices in their advertising. But it will come down to cooperation between Microsoft, Nokia and the retail sales infrastructure to effectively push the right product to the right customer; at the moment, too many folks are being wrongly paired with low-end Android devices that don’t hold up over time.

A year from now, while nothing is certain, it wouldn’t be too outrageous to see the Lumia series consistently high on the sales charts in Canada, especially if the core message is communicated consistently: simple, powerful, beautiful.

  • Steven

    I’ve really wanted one for a while. A lot of phones are starting to be the same, and the innovation that WP and Nokia is bringing with the Lumias is definitely a change from the norm.

  • Scazzz

    doesnt hurt that the 710 is free on a 1 year at Rogers, along with the PLAY from certain dealers… great device.

  • Unr8ted

    Not really surprised by the news. We have only 3 choices iOS , android or Blackberry, (I don’t count Symbian). Now we have a new player and people like to have a choice.

  • Daniel

    Here in coquitlam, BC. The Rogers store was sold out for lumia 710s. Now, i don’t know if that’s because they had a small stock to begin with or because it’s so popular, but whichever the case, it’s selling.

    my dad or sister are just one step from buying a windows phone now. My dad is being cheap and said he’ll just take my samsung focus once i upgrade to the L900 or something else in the future (windows phone 8 maybe?)

    my sister is just about ready to dump her Blackberry. she bought it second hand and it’s starting to wear out. so the cheap lumia 710 is ready for her!

  • Sean

    The 710 is the perfect budget phone that fits into a lot of price ranges, the no data plan, the decent one and two year contracts.
    The 800 is a great medium range phone which is powerful, AMOLED great camera
    The 900 is the great high end devices, a great sized AMOLED screen, LTE, a FFC and (if true) and amazing off contract price

    Together Nokia truly is being a force to be reckoned with with these new devices

    • bob

      710 and 800 are both low end, almost the same device. Display comparable to the Galaxy S released in 2010 (in the case of the 800)

      The 900 is mid range.

  • Keith

    That seems to be the same story throughout much of the world. Nokia appears to be a game changer for Windows Phone. Not just in the low end either as the 900 is generating a lot of worldwide buzz.

  • Anthony

    The picture used for this article does not do the phone justice in the looks department.Mobile syrup where are all those high res pictures?

  • lumia800

    I’ve been using the lumia 800 since launch here in Canada. And I have to say it’s a solid device with a solid OS. Do yourself a favor and check out these devices along side the iPhones,androids and blackberry handsets our there. I think you’ll be pleastlt aurprised

  • freestaterocker

    It really comes down to this: people want a good-looking device that they can afford that JUST WORKS. IPhone works great and looks great, but it isn’t very affordable, unless you go with the at-death’s-door 3gs, and then the end-user experience. Android offers devices in every price range, but-as pointed out in the article-you get what you pay for. Blackberry is in the same boat. MS required minimum specs from OEMs, and limited theirs and carriers ability to add bloat, which ensures a consistent user experience across all price ranges. The end result: the consumer wins! Because, aside from camera quality and other similar minor niggles, you can’t make a poor choice. If you like the OS, you’ll be happy with the device no matter what you spent on it. Finally, a product that puts the people buying and using it first. From there, word-of-mouth handles the rest.

  • Joe

    That goes to show that Canada CAN sell Windows Phones, considering the proper promotion.

  • Petephone

    Article says: [The phone comes with a] free 1hr Nokia Technical Support session where the Nokia agent will answer any questions for the Lumia.

    I bought one and was not told of this service, how do I
    get info for this?

    • Greg

      You can schedule an appointment at setup.nokia.ca

  • Theywillbepissed

    Daniel mentions notifications as being one of the weaknesses of windows phone. I was under the impression that this was one of the strengths of window’s phone with its live tiles. Anybody care to elaborate?

    • blackprince

      I’ve seen two schools of thought when it comes to notifications.

      Some people want a screen that shows what those toast notifications are and then there are those that realize that the live tiles themselves are the notification centre.

      Most apps have a live tile and if you pin it to your start screen it will show you a counter for all your notifications for that app. ie. Facebook, 4th and Mayor

    • Alan Strangis

      Like blackprince said, there’s two schools of thought.

      Overall, I love the live tiles, as they really do come in handy, but on the other hand, I wish that there was a centralized notification center, as some toast messages (notifications) can be missed if you don’t have the app in question pinned to your home screen. Either that, or put a ‘toast’ pivot in the Me tile that I can flush out at my convenience.

      It’s probably my only real gripe about Windows Phone, though it’s not major.

  • Shamu

    These articles are hilarious. Obviously MS was feeling some pressure from Nokia to say something nice. I work at a Telus location and I can tell you no one wants this phone at any price. Come on Telus. No more toys

    • Joe

      Ah, so you’re part of the fanboy salesmen who push consumers away from Windows Phone. Nice…

    • Theywillbepissed

      @Shamu – yes and i work at NASA building nuclear warheads to kill the aliens in Iceland. Anybody can say s*** on the internet

    • Alan Strangis

      I know someone who works in a Telus store, and he said the Lumia 800s were doing better than he expected (and he’s an Android fan).

  • Andy from TO

    Happy for Nokia. I commute alot and I have to admit I have seen alot of these on public transit. It’s a varied demographic like I saw a highschool student with one and another pretty female in her 30’s with one. I might get one second hand.

  • Adam

    I’m actually test-driving a Lumia 710, and I do like it. For a low-range phone, it’s actually quite nice. Obviously doesn’t come close to comparing to a Note or SGSII, but it’s usability, build and feel is very nice. Despite a few shortcomings of the OS (apps, notifications, minor bugs/glitches) I’m impressed. This is by far the best phone you’ll find in the price range, and would be perfect as a replacement phone for somebody who broke their phone early into their contract.

  • RF in BC

    After reading only good reviews about WP and all the Lumia line, I finally had the opportunity to try one recently (Lumia 800). One word can sum up what I thought: WOW! It is fast, intuitive, clean, simple, all-around beautiful. Waiting for the Lumia 900 to arrive!

  • Tony

    @Shamu…dude, I know what you were trying to say but you need to understand who reads these posts. They’re all mostly head office employees from the majors so you upset them. Try to look at the new Windows platform for what it is now and not for what it was before. WP8 from everything I’ve read and seen looks good. It’ll get better once the other manufacturers get on board as well. Be patient

  • KC

    Anecdotal evidence from a few dealers is nice and all, and it may be an indicator that Windows Phone is selling well, but I’d rather wait until I see some numbers from the carriers or Nokia to get a better idea of how Lumia Phones are doing in this market.

    Not that I am doubting or wishing Windows Phone to fail, I love choice and even though I hate Metro personally, I’m glad there are alternatives because the big three ecosystems all have their shortcomings. The more competition the more all the big platforms will improve.

  • Ahmed Eltawil

    You know, I wish Microsoft would only work with Nokia to make Windows Phone handsets. I find them perfecting the image of what a Windows Phone should look and feel like for everyone, and it’s pretty consistent in all Lumia series. HTC (and others) just don’t seem to understand the beauty of Windows Phone OS and the need for consistency in their hardware designs.

    • gwydionjhr

      Ahmed:
      Don’t forget, Windows 8 is just around the corner, and ecosystem it going to be everything moving forward. You have to think that some of the current Android tablet manufacturers, like Samsung, can’t be happy with their sales against the iPad. These same manufacturers have only given WP a half hearted effort so far. However, when you keep Windows 8 in mind, I start to wonder how many of them are going to refocus on Windows8 to make a dent in the tablet market, and by extension do a better job with their Windows Phones to build their ecosystems. It won’t be too long until we find out :-)

  • Kelli

    I purchased a Nokia 710 from Rogers in Manitoba, and while it’s a great phone there’s a few features not working on that network that aren’t working. I must say it is priced very well and was surprised at how easy and refreshing the handset was to experience. The 2 features I’m referring to are the Caller ID does not work, and we are still waiting for the mobile hotspot option on the 710 line up.

    • Anthony

      @Kelly: There’s a thread on RFD for the 710, and people who had the caller ID not working got it working by having Rogers disable INCOMING (not outgoing) name display (not caller id) on their lines.

    • gwydionjhr

      @Anthony, what’s RFD? Can you post a link (that’s not actually a link ’cause I don’t think MSyrup allows that in the comments)

  • arid

    For the record, blackberry is no longer number one in canada

  • gwydionjhr

    Come on Fido, bring us some WP love!

  • gwydionjhr

    A friend’s ancient Razr flip phone crapped out on him last week. He’s older and wanted to move up to a smart phone, because of it’s simplicity a WP was the perfect choice, and the 710 was right in his wheelhouse. Only 1 Rogers store in Victoria (of the 4 the rep we were dealing with checked) was actually showing stock.

  • Rustyknight17

    Happy meaning what exactly ?

  • Mr. Eskofinland Nokia Homeland

    Believe me or not I am still using my two-year old Nokia 5230 Symbian phone…almost daily trading in stocks… banking… BEAUTIFUL! BUT: Not without free Opera OS. This device can be used with a pen, spike, stick, anything pointed with the exact accuracy and fastness. Last Fall I emailed to Stephen Elop I would have given the 5230 to my dog, but then discovered the Opera. Elop then referred to near future developments which are in the talks here now. I do not know why I purchased a HTC Android just before Christmas… childrens pressure…? I tried, with MY fingers, the only ones I have, and oh so quickly I learned not to touch her nervous accidentiality. And she is totally numb to my learned quick tools! Of course my good dog does not like. I stick to the Nokia Symbian. It is not a toy, says Esko, from the Russian boarder at Imatra.