Clarifying HMD Global’s Support for Nokia Devices

The Nokia saga is not yet over. This year, Nokia under new management will be launching a slew of new phones, including a new Nokia 3310. In the meantime, as it looks back, there is going to be some misunderstanding about Nokia support.

According to HMD, the support dividing line is December 1, 2016. If your Nokia device were built before December 1, 2016, it would be supported by B2X. Otherwise, it will be supported by HMD Global.

To explain further, When Microsoft sold the cell phone business to HMD Global, it also made sure that support would not be a problem for Microsoft users. With that in mind, Microsoft farmed out the support of its existing phones to B2X. This is a global support group which provides third-party customer support for major cell phone companies. Another company which makes use of B2X is Apple.

Besides the manufacturing date, there is another limitation to the B2X agreement. HMD Global will continue to support the following feature phone models: Nokia model numbers 105 130, 150, 216, 222 and 230. Also, HMD Global will be providing support for the Nokia smartphone launched this year. Clearly, Microsoft will have no more say in how customers get their support when their feature phones get damaged.

If you are a Nokia feature phone owner, you should start checking out where the nearest office of B2X is located. Otherwise, you would have to visit your friendly neighborhood cell phone repair shop. So far, the list of Nokia phones still eligible for support are all feature phones.

If you’re one of these few people who still use an old Nokia feature phone, you should consider if it is cheaper to have it repaired or to buy a new one instead. There is no assurance that there are parts available for Nokia smartphones which were released years ago. Given the years where the Nokia brand was under the control of Microsoft, it would be a wonder if spares for these older models would still be available.

There should be no problem with Nokia support when your cell phone hits rough seas. Feature phones are a lot simpler to repair than smartphones. There are also fewer parts inside a smartphone. However, a repair shop may run into problems because there are no more spare parts easily available. For Nokia feature phones, there would, of course, be the keyboard, as well as the smaller skin or case and the display. Acquiring a spare battery should not be a problem.

Regarding repairs and customer support, HMD Global should ready its support infrastructure as it will release its phones globally soon. The old Nokia models had a reputation for durability. The iconic Nokia 3310 is sometimes called the ‘invincible’ cell phone model. Users would swear by its durability.

It is good to know that this side of the business is being handled even before the launch of the 2017 models. Customers would be better able to understand the problem before they head off and have their phones repaired.

For customer support, there are some problems which can be fixed over the phone. For the most part, when a cell phone gets damaged, it has to be re-sent to the company’s repair center. Company showrooms all across the country would know where you can send your cell phone for repair. The alternative would be to have your cell phone repaired at a local cell phone repair shop. It’s not a secret that these shops offer a better service than company-owned stores. Customers can also have an estimate of the repair time, or they can watch while the phone is being repaired.

There was a time when there were more cell phone repair shops. With a lot of newer players, there is a demand for having their repair center. If the job required a simple replacement of parts, this could be done easily by the repair person, and you can wait for the phone to be fixed.

HMD Global is in a great situation right now. They did not inherit the problems of Microsoft. They only need to fix those cell phone models that were released before December 1, 2016. For some acquisitions, part of the acquisition cost goes to the expected repairs as part of the support costs. In effect, Microsoft spent money to have someone else take care of their obligations to Nokia buyers. Microsoft did not have the manpower to do it, and even if they did, they would be better off laying off those personnel or allowing them to transfer to HMD Global.

This is a practice found in any merger or acquisition. With B2X handling the repairs for those units manufactured before December 1, 2016, HMD Global does not have to worry about the after-sales support. It takes some time for systems to mature, and the company can grow their support organization while they also grow their market. Nokia as a company did not sprout overnight to become the largest cell phone manufacturer in the world during the 1990s and early 2000s.

It is not only a good idea in hindsight, but it is also a move which is preparatory to the release of Nokia cellphones this year. Growing their market, they also need a support organization to keep up. However, just in case their offerings do not meet the public’s expectations, HMD can scale back while they retract to the drawing board.

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