Nokia phones' license holder, HMD Global, chose to put its US ambitions in the back burner to focus on markets where the brand has been enjoying a resurgence these past few years. Now, the company has decided that it's time to release phones in the US with carrier partners again. HMD has teamed up with Verizon and Cricket Wireless to launch two carrier-exclusive Nokia Android smartphones in the country. Neither phone will be available to post-paid subscribers -- Big Red will offer the device under its prepaid offerings -- but the partnerships could still put Nokia phones in more people's hands.
For Cricket Wireless, HMD will offer Nokia 3.1 Plus: a 5.99-inch device with HD+ display, 13MP and 5MP rear cameras, 8MP front cam, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of storage and 3,500 mAh battery. It's powered by the Snapdragon 439 platform, a processor Qualcomm launched last year for mid-tier phones. The Nokia 3.1 Plus will be available for sale at the Cricket Wireless website and its retail outlets starting today for $160.
Meanwhile, HMD's Verizon phone is called the Nokia 2 V, which has a 5.5-inch HD screen, 8MP rear camera with auto-focus, 5MP front cam, 8GB of storage, 4,000mAh battery and the capability to support microSD cards up to 128GB. HMD didn't reveal the pricing for this one, but it's worth noting that it's powered by an older processor (Snapdragon 425). The Nokia 2 V will be available on Verizon's website and in-store on January 31st.
In addition to Verizon and Cricket Wireless, HMD has also teamed up with Rogers to release an exclusive phone in Canada "very soon" under the chatr brand.
Maurizio Angelone, HMD Global's VP for Americas, said in a statement:
"Just over two years ago, on a global level, we committed to delivering reliable and durable Nokia phones through purposeful, distinct design. Since then, we have reintroduced iconic devices and a range of Nokia smartphones on Android, plus established imaging, software and manufacturing partnerships with the best in the industry. Thanks to fantastic consumer response, we are now proud to be in a position where we can expand our foothold in North America by partnering with some of North America's largest wireless providers.
In 2019 and beyond, we will continue to give consumers a versatile line up of Nokia phones they can use unlocked or with their preferred wireless providers. Our approach to operator relationships is not transactional—our users will see more devices at different price points launching with our prepaid and post-paid wireless prover partners and on the open market."