Nokia has reportedly paid AT&T as much as $25 million to make the Nokia Lumia 900 the exclusive free phone for AT&T employees.
That's a smart move: one of the big problems with Windows Phone is that staffers at the carriers' retail stores don't know anything about it, and aren't pushing it. This will at least give them a lot of exposure to the product.
According to a report in WPCentral this morning, AT&T is designating the Lumia as a "hero" phone, meaning it will give it top billing and promotion equivalent to what it did for the iPhone at launch.
Part of the deal is making the Lumia the exclusive phone available through the "company use" program -- and prying employees away from their iPhones and Android phones. The report says Nokia expects 80% of AT&T employees to be using Lumias in short order.
It should be noted that a lot of the Lumia's marketing budget is coming from Microsoft, which is basically paying big up front fees to get Nokia to use its Windows Phone platform. In the fourth quarter of 2011, for instance, Microsoft paid Nokia $250 million.