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Nokia: Stop Selling 1900 MHz-Only Phones Here PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Christopher Price   
Sunday, 18 June 2006
In the ever-evolving U.S. wireless landscape, Nokia has consisted in doing something rather pathetic, and it's time to take them to task on it. As we all know, manufacturers sell devices that don't always have GSM 850, but do have GSM 1900. This is usually to foreign carriers and users, who want the luxury of international roaming, especially in the United States.

However, no U.S. owner these days should be with a 1900-only device. Even if your local T-Mobile or Cingular market is 1900 MHz, you're passing up on free roaming from another tower. In addition, when you leave your market, coverage may go from great to zero in minutes. This is not acceptable for most users, in most cases.

Nokia however, continues to sell niche phones that are 1900 MHz in the U.S. The Nokia N91 has launched to huge "iPod Fighting" fanfare. However, Nokia doesn't even bother to drop the note that neither Cingular or T-Mobile would sell the device directly... because it is missing the critical GSM 850 band. This is paralleled in UMTS. Cingular, realizing that UMTS would eventually reach 850 MHz cancelled all 1900-only UMTS phones, thinking in advance for future networks. Now, tri-band UMTS is launching because of it.

Nokia, stop it. If you can't afford to tweak devices slightly to work fully in the U.S., don't sell them in the U.S. Savvy consumers know how to get them from abroad, and yes, some even really do know what they're doing with a 1900-only device. However, most won't. Most will buy the phone, and hate it for the better part of a year before it gets replaced with some other device, from another manufacturer.
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