Nokia launches new models based on shared handset concept for emerging market

Nokia Corp, the world’s largest handset maker, has launched seven mobile phones priced between Rs 2,000 - Rs 5,000 (excluding taxes) for emerging markets. The global launch was done from India! This intensified the competition in the entry-level mobile segment in India. The launch includes two models which are intended for shared use by families or entire villages. Incidentally, Nokia’s launch comes just a day after Indian CDMA major Reliance Communications announced the launch of its cheapest ever handset at Rs 777 (See our story - Handsets at Rs 777 ). In contrast, the Nokia 2505, the only CDMA handset which featured in Thursday’s launch is priced at about Rs 4,750. Reliance’s counterpart in the CDMA space, Tata Tele offers handsets priced at Rs 1,200 and upwards.

The entry level segment in India is set to see further competition with the entry of UK-based telecom operator Vodafone who is all out to tackle the rural market with ultra-low cost handsets and bundled services. Vodafone has a tie-up with Chinese manufacturer ZTE for entry-level handsets. GSM operator Spice, which also manufactures handsets will soon launch Rs 1000 phones, while US-based handset major Motorola offers entry-level products priced Rs 1,200 upwards.

Nokia is estimated to have close to 60% market share in the mobile segment in India, and is also the dominant player in the entry-level segment, where it leads rivals Motorola, Samsung, Chinese and Taiwanese manufacturers. Nokia’s shared models — 1200 and 1208, which cost over Rs 2,000 are equipped with call-tracking and multiple phone books — features which allow many people to use a common handset on a shared basis. Other built-in features in these latest handsets, specifically incorporated for emerging markets include pre-set time and cost barriers, which allows calls to be terminated once it reaches a certain limit. Nokia’s launch assumes importance as the shared mobile handset concept in villages is viewed as the right strategy to improve penetration in rural India. This phenomenon is already popular in some parts of the country. The latest launch was meant for emerging markets such as India, China, Africa and Latin America.

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