Nokia has confirmed data problems with its Lumia 900 phone that have prevented some users from connecting with AT&T's network. To make up for it, the company is offering a $100 credit to all users, regardless of whether they were affected.
The $100 credit will appear automatically on customers' AT&T bills and is available to anyone who buys a Lumia 900 by April 21. Given that the phone costs $100 with a two-year data contract, Nokia's goodwill gesture essentially makes the Lumia 900 free for early adopters.
Nokia said the phone's failure to connect is a memory management issue, purely related to software, not to the hardware or to AT&T's network. Users began complaining about the issue immediately, and in some cases before the Lumia 900's official April 8 launch date.
To fix the problem, users can either swap their phones at an AT&T store immediately, or download a software update through Zune on or around April 16.
Nokia and AT&T are hyping the Lumia 900 with a huge marketing campaign that included a promotion in Times Square and a series of television commercials featuring former Saturday Night Live star Chris Parnell. According to Ad Age, AT&T is kicking in $150 million on the campaign, whose theme is that “the smartphone beta test is over.” In light of the Lumia 900's launch bug, that slogan seems unfortunate.
Still, Nokia deserves a lot of credit for making things right with generous compensation. The data issue was likely to blow over on its own, but Nokia managed to turn it into even more promotion for one of the best Windows Phones so far.