Having been noticeably absent from the list of launch partners for Nokia’s new Lumia 800 Windows Phone handset, Telefonica-owned O2 is to begin selling the device in the UK from December 9, sources have told Recombu.

The appearance of Nokia’s first Windows Phone handset on the ‘Coming Soon’ page on O2’s website alerted customers to the possibility that the operator would begin offering the device, which currently has a ‘Coming Soon: December’ label:

Screen Shot 2011 11 30 at 14.09.53 520x292 Nokias price is right for O2 as Lumia 800 goes on sale from December 9

After a quick chat with their source, the guys at Recombu reliably inform us that the device will be available in just over a week – a surprising reversal by Telefonica, who had previously stated that Nokia devices were “not yet at the right price point” and “too expensive”.

Before the handset had launched, Telefonica’s European general manager Simon Lee-Smith said that if the Finnish mobile giant wanted to sell its smartphone devices in volume then it would “need to bring out devices which are cost-competitive”. However, he did concede that the vendor was “beginning to listen”, which suggests the global operator was able to negotiate a deal that benefitted both companies.

Nokia has remained quiet on sales of its Lumia 800 handset, issuing impressive-sounding but ultimately vague statements on its performance. The company’s statement read:

“Lumia 800 sales in the UK are off to an excellent start. Based on earliest data the sales start of the Lumia 800 is the best ever first week of Nokia smartphone sales in the UK in recent history.”

“By our measures, we have gained significant smartphone sell-out share in the channels in which we are operating in the UK”

We can derive from the release that Nokia’s new smartphone launched successfully, but to what extent we are unable to gauge.