Nokia 2 and Nokia 3.1 to launch in the US, and they're coming to Verizon and Cricket

Nokia phones are making a comeback in America thanks to HMD Global, and they'll be easier to buy thanks to official carrier sales and support.  It's been a while.

Soon, the midrange Nokia 3.1 Plus will come to Cricket Wireless, while the budget version of the Nokia 2 will land on Verizon, dubbed the Nokia 2 V in this case.

There's a third undisclosed Nokia phone coming to North America, in Canada, by way of Rogers subsidiary, chatr. We don't know the name of the phone in this case, but it's launching "very soon," according to Nokia's press release.

Why this is a big step for Nokia in the US

While consumers could already buy Nokia phones through Amazon, Best Buy and B&H, among others, this seems like the opening move in HMD’s bigger push to get Nokia more firmly into North American markets.

The most important nugget from today's announcement? There may be more to come from Nokia, according to HMD Global VP Americas Maurizio Angelone. 

"In 2019 and beyond, we will continue to give consumers a versatile line up of Nokia phones they can use unlocked or with their preferred wireless providers," he teased in today's press release. "Our approach to operator relationships is not transactional—our users will see more devices at different price points launching with our prepaid and post-paid wireless prover partners and on the open market."

More phones for the budget-minded

Just to be clear, neither of these models are flagship-quality phones with top specs. And that’s okay. They’re deliberately aimed at users hunting for budget devices.

The Nokia 3.1 packs an octa-core Snapdragon 439, 5.99-inch HD+ display,  2GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. As we noted in our Nokia 3.1 Plus review, 10GB of its internal space is taken up by the Android OS. Thankfully, it has a microSD port and is expandable up to 400GB – assuming, of course, the Cricket-specific model isn’t any different from the Nokia 3.1 we saw.

Otherwise, the Nokia 3.1 is a budget model with decent features: a 3,500mAh battery, HD+ screen, microUSB port (boo) and 3.5mm jack (yay). The phone will be available in blue at Cricket Wireless stores and on its website for $159 starting January 25, 2019.

The Nokia 2 V, on the other hand, is an even lower-budget phone with a Snapdragon 425, 5.5-inch HD screen, 5MP front/8MP rear cameras. Sadly, it only comes with 8GB of storage, though that’s expandable up to 128GB via microSD card.

On the plus side, its 4,000mAh battery should last you awhile (two days, according to press materials). Verizon hasn’t listed how much the Nokia 2 V will be when it hits the carrier’s online and physical stores on January 31, 2019, but the Nokia 2 is priced at $99 elsewhere.

David Lumb

David is now a mobile reporter at Cnet. Formerly Mobile Editor, US for TechRadar, he covered phones, tablets, and wearables. He still thinks the iPhone 4 is the best-looking smartphone ever made. He's most interested in technology, gaming and culture – and where they overlap and change our lives. His current beat explores how our on-the-go existence is affected by new gadgets, carrier coverage expansions, and corporate strategy shifts.