Nokia Lumia 800 Box

Customers hoping to grab the Nokia Lumia 800 without a carrier commitment will have to wait until next year to get their hands on the Finnish phone giant’s first Windows Phone handset. Online retailer Clove has confirmed that Nokia is holding back the SIM-free version of its tasty new smartphone until January 2012.

SIM-free handsets are a great way for customers to get their hands on the latest tech without having to sign into a lengthy carrier commitment, or buy their way out of their existing contract just to sign up for another one. They are usually required to pay a lot more for the handset up-front, but then they have the freedom to slap any SIM card they wish inside it.

However, a carrier commitment is beginning to look like the most attractive option for the Lumia 800, unless you’re happy to wait a few months for it. On contract, the device will be available from as early as November 16 in its initial launch territories, but without that commitment there’s a lengthy wait.

While Nokia will be keen to get the new handset to as many people as possible at launch — with its future pinned on the success of its Windows Phone devices — it appears that the company may not have anticipated how popular the device would be. It is believed that it has received so many pre-orders for the handset that it has had to put SIM-free orders on hold while it deals with the demand that it’s currently receiving from carriers.

This is great for Nokia, which will be delighted that its first Windows Phone handset is highly sought-after, but it’s not so great for those who want the device on launch day with no strings attached. It’s worth remembering, however, that the SIM-free device hasn’t been cancelled completely — you’ll just have to wait a little longer for it.

Are you disappointed the SIM-free Lumia 800 has been delayed?

UPDATE: Nokia has issues a statement to Pocket-lint since this report, which confirms that the SIM-free Lumia 800 will not be delayed, and that it will indeed launch alongside the carrier-locked models on November 16:

“The Nokia Lumia 800 goes on sale on the 16th?of November as we stated during the launch at Nokia World. There are some rather odd stories circulating at present, it’s rather flattering as it proves that there are a lot of people who believe the Lumia 800 will be a major sales item and are now trying to get it onto their shelves.

However for the rollout of our first Lumia products, we have chosen to work with the UK operator and retail partners who shared our enthusiasm and commitment to bring these first products to market with a major focus on bringing alive the Nokia with Windows Phone experience for consumers.?Therefore we are making sure that by using these channels the Lumia 800 will be available to our customers in the widest variety of outlets from SIM free to contract.

We have also worked extensively to train these channels to support the product. From Q1 next year we will be supplying the product?to?our wider UK distribution network and in the interim we will be supporting these additional channels with training ready for this wider reach.”

[via Pocket-lint]