Handset giant already knows operators, so can't see the point of spending millions on a stand.
Nokia told ME that its increasing focus on marketing directly to consumers means the huge cost of exhibiting at a giant trade-only show hard to justify.
For this reason Nokia will not have its usual glitzy stand at the MWC Barcelona trade show in February, although it is likely to arrange some kind of off-site event. The decision does not extend to Nokia Siemens Networks, which will exhibit as normal.
Nokia's absence will not please the GSMA, especially as it may stiffen the resolve of other smaller exhibitors to stay away from a pretty expensive show.
Last year, there were noticeably fewer exhibitors than in previous years, with 47,000 visitors compared with 55,000 at the 2007 event.