Telecom is set to become the first New Zealand mobile operator to start selling smartphones that use the Windows Phone 8 operating system later this week.
United States analyst Gartner estimated Microsoft's share of the global smartphone market at a lowly 2.7 per cent in three months to September. But many analysts expect Windows Phone 8 will help to gradually re-establish Microsoft as a serious contender, alongside Apple and Android.
Telecom will begin selling Nokia's flagship Lumia 920 smartphone on Friday. It has a "recommended" price of $999. The HTC 8S phone will follow on December 6, priced at $499, and the Samsung Ativ S is expected to be available from Telecom in February, priced at about $799.
Microsoft is also tipped to launch its own smartphone using the operating system. That would mirror its strategy in the tablet market, following the launch of its Surface tablet. Microsoft is understood to be keen to reinvent itself as an integrated hardware and software company, more along the lines of Apple.
Telecom had a leaning towards Microsoft devices before the iPhone and Android took centre stage.
One of Phone 8's selling points is that apps developed for the operating system will also work on Windows 8 PCs and tablets.
Gartner put Apple's third-quarter share of the smartphone market at 13.9 per cent, while Google's Android ran on a massive 72.4 per cent of smartphones sold during the quarter.
Vodafone said it would also begin stocking the HTC 8S "in early December".
"This is just the start of our Windows range. We'll be sharing more over the next few weeks," a spokeswoman said.