Nokia sold 14 million smartphones in Q4… if you reclassify Asha phones

Tero Kuittinen

Nokia Earnings Q4 2012
Nokia Earnings Q4 2012

Nokia (NOK) just issued a positive fourth-quarter warning in Helsinki, stating that the Mobile Phones unit and Lumia phones beat company expectations. The reported Lumia shipment volume of 4.4 million units is very close to the European sell-side consensus expectation; actually 100,000 units above the mid-December consensus.

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Nokia’s share price has plunged over the past three days due to rumors about a cheap iPhone from Apple. Now, Nokia’s stock price shot up 14% in Helsinki after the new comments from the company came out. Lumia volume of 4.4 million units for the Christmas quarter is an undeniable relief — but it also probably was heavily propped up by the deeply discounted old Lumia 800. We’ll have to wait and see to get more information about the Windows Phone 8 volume.

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The decision to lump Asha sales into “smartphone” category will be controversial. Asha phones were a big hit for Nokia in Asia and Latin America during 2012. They helped Nokia reverse its market share losses in India and deliver two consecutive volume surprises in the second and third quarters last year.

But Asha models are built on the S40 operating system and are widely viewed as feature phones by most industry research houses. Nokia is arguing that since you can now have fairly advanced email features, popular apps and games in Asha phones, they actually are smartphones.

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