Nokia has a strong 3G ecosystem to drive consumer adoption!
Director - Marketing, Nokia India
How has been the journey of Nokia in India?
Nokia saw the potential in this country way back in 1995, when wireless telephony was just coming up in India. Nokia decided to invest here ahead of everybody else and while the market was still evolving Nokia's journey in India started when the country's first mobile call was made from a Nokia handset on a Nokia supplied telecom network in the year 1995. India was a new growth market for Nokia and also a challenging one as mobile communications were non-existent and there were no benchmarks to follow. Our initial focus and commitment stemmed from the top - when Nokia's global executive board members visited India in 1995 and decided to invest here ahead of everyone else - with the objective of introducing mobility in the country, lowering total cost of ownership, offering easy-to-use mobile handsets with relevant features.
Over the last few years, we have focussed on transforming from being a product-centric company to a solutions company. Our business strategy has been consistently focussed on: a) understanding the needs of the Indian market closely and not imposing a one-size-fits-all approach, b) offer the most comprehensive product portfolio based on the needs of the market, and c) extend market making initiatives across different segments.
How do you position your smartphones or feature-rich phones vis-à-vis focussed players like BlackBerry and iPhone?
We invented the smartphone, and continue to innovate. We were among the first to enter the smartphone market with the Nokia 7650. Nokia continues to be a clear market leader in the smartphone segment in India. As per Canalys, the smartphone market in India stood at 6,322,970 units in CY 2010 and Symbian's share in that was 63%.
We have also grown the high-end smartphone market with the launch of the Nokia N8 late last year. It has more than tripled the market size in that category. The N8 also pushed data consumption amongst consumers to a new level. For example, the ESPN widget we launched which crossed half a million download mark in 45 days of the launch. Going forward, we continue to create new categories such as the innovative “touch and type”.
Nokia plans to continue with their investments in Symbian that will include completely new smartphone devices; improved hardware performance and a renewed user experience including new home screen, new widgets and a new browser. We have already announced two new Symbian smartphone devices - Nokia E6 and Nokia X7 - which come with the new Symbian Anna UI. We will continue to strengthen the software with updates to key features and applications and expect to be providing software support for Symbian devices until at least 2016. Our strong pipeline of smartphones will be further complemented by the launch of our Windows-based smartphones early next year. So, consumers can expect more differentiated offerings from Nokia on the smartphones front.
How do you see mushrooming of domestic handset importers?
We don't believe there is place in the market for so many handset vendors and expect a lot these players to disappear over time. The mobile industry is one of the quickest in terms of innovation cycles. While on the one hand a lot of players are coming in, on the other hand innovation has ceased to exist. Price alone cannot be an innovation. A reliable product needs to be backed by several things like brand, support, reach and services. Nokia has been able to sustain market leadership as we provide all of these elements and have the ability to form collaborative ecosystems.
There has been a drop in your market share. How are you planning to overcome it?
In India, Nokia's competitors have gained purely on account of dual SIM handset portfolio. We have been late to the market on that, but last week introduced the first two handsets that are the first in a lineup of dual SIM handsets we will be launching in the country over the course of the year. In all other areas of the industry, we have made tremendous progress.
Nokia Tej is a mobile order management service that lets SMBs place orders and access order-related information via their Nokia handset or computer on a pay-per-use model.
Additionally, we have also built a strong ecosystem around 3G to drive consumer adoption. We have a wide portfolio of 3G devices across price points and have also created bundled solutions by partnering with leading operators in the country. We are also reaching out to 20,000 rural women through microfinance partnerships.
How are you addressing the after-sales services?
Nokia has the largest care redressal network in the consumer durable industry in India with over 1,100-plus consumer touch points for Nokia Care across the country. These include 800-plus Care centres across 400-plus cities and over 100 collection points in the far and dispersed locations. Nokia has also deployed over 15 Care vans that go across the rural areas. “Care” is about a lot more than simply fixing phones; we want to give the Nokia customers the best long-term experience of our products and help them to get the most out of their mobiles. At the Nokia Care Experience Centres, consumers can both experience and receive support for Nokia's latest services and applications, such as Music, Messaging, Maps and Games.
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