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TMCNet:  Feature phones remain priority for Nokia, says India MD [Hardware] [Times of India]

[December 25, 2013]

Feature phones remain priority for Nokia, says India MD [Hardware] [Times of India]

(Times of India Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) NEW DELHI: Nokia has said that it would remain committed to basic phones and would keep adding innovative features to them even as the world slowly moves to smartphones.

The company, expected to be formally acquired by Microsoft in the coming months, said that even though Microsoft was only focusing on smartphones through Windows Phone software, for Nokia it would be "business as usual". It said that it would not stop making feature phones for at least two more years.


"In 2015, around 225 million mobile phones will be sold in India. Of these only 75 million will be smartphones. Feature phones may constitute around 30-40% of the total phone market in terms of value," said P Balaji, VP and MD at Nokia India. "We will absolutely focus on the feature phones. Our commitment to feature phones is not changing. We will offer a more enriching experience by bringing some of the smartphone-like features to basic phones." According to IDC, Nokia had a 14.7% market share in Indian mobile phone market in Q3, 2013, putting it in second place behind Samsung that had a market share of 15.3%. But in the smartphone segment, the company is on the fourth position with a market share of 5%.

Balaji said that the deal with Microsoft was not likely to affect Nokia's feature phone plans. "Microsoft has clearly stated that money has been paid to get a Nokia brand name for a period of 10 years for the mobile phones - feature phones and Asha phones - that are separate from Lumia phones. And the company has said that it wants to reach the next one billion users... This in my view is as strong a commitment as you can get (for feature phones)," he said.

Microsoft doesn't have any experience in feature phones and it would be interesting to see how the company would balance its priorities between the low-margin feature phone market and extremely-competitive but lucrative smartphone market.

(c) 2013 Bennett, Coleman & Company Limited

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