LONDON Nokia has U.S. carrier support for its new Microsoft Windows phones, its chief executive told Reuters -- a key factor in its battle to win back the many U.S. consumers who have deserted the world's biggest cellphone maker.
The Finnish company on Wednesday unveiled the first of its long-awaited Windows phones, the results of a big bet on a partnership with software giant Microsoft, to go on sale in Europe by Christmas.
"We said that we would have a portfolio of products rolling out in the United States early in 2012. I would not be able to make that statement if in fact we did not have operator support in the United States as well," Elop said in an interview.
He declined to say which or how many of the four U.S. network operators were supporting Nokia. "We're not making any comments about the U.S. but we will soon," Elop said.
Operator subsidies and store prominence are key to pushing mobile phones into the hands of consumers. Nokia is expected to benefit from its strong relationships with operators in Europe but has struggled to convince U.S. carriers in recent years.
Elop also said Nokia continued to look at the market for tablet computers, currently dominated by Apple's iPad, but gave no details of the company's plans.
"We're looking at this space. We're focused right now clearly on getting the smartphones and the new mobile phones out into the market," he said in the interview at Nokia World in London, the company's annual analyst and media event.
(Editing by Erica Billingham)