We’re paying more attention to high-end smartphones: Nokia India MD

| | Updated on: Dec 16, 2013




Mobile handsets maker Nokia, which has completed two-years since it launched Windows-based Lumia range of phones, is bullish about its success not only in the smartphone category but also the feature phones.

The company on Monday launched new Lumia 1520 priced at Rs 46,999, which comes with a 1080p full HD screen (6-inch), 20MP PureView camera with optical image stabilisation and zooming capabilities.

The company that has been acquired by technology giant Microsoft said the transition will take place within the first quarter of next year, including the Indian subsidiary.

P. Balaji, Managing Director, Nokia India, in an interview with Business Line, shares more on the company’s plans.

How do you see the market for such costlier smartphones in India? Will you get EMI offers with such phones?

We think the pricing is right. It (Lumia 1520) is truly a pro-consumer phone with innovations on imaging. This is the 10th launch of Lumia smartphone in India in the last eight months and we are quite confident as we have done consumer research before the launch.

EMI is obviously a standard for high-end devices that helps in sales. We will strengthen our partnerships with top retailers for such phones. It happened with all other models such as Lumia 920, 1020 and we are paying more attention to high-end smartphones.

How many app developers do you have now for smartphones?

When we had started in 2011, there were 7,000 apps and now we have moved up to 1.75 lakh apps. Every month, we are adding around 5,000-6,000 apps and we will continue with that.

You have cheaper smartphones in the market as well like Asha. Isn’t that eating market share of Lumia or is that helping you getting market share in overall smartphones?

With Asha going all the way up to Lumia 520 (high-end) and beyond, it straddles the entire range and also drives aspiration to ownership for many (with EMI offers and upgrades). So those kinds of use cases are happening even more. In terms of market share, we are doing well because both have different propositions. Our entire smartphones strategy is based on both Asha and Lumia.

What is your long-term strategy in Indian smartphones market because as per IDC’s third quarter report, you are only at five per cent market share?

We sold 8.8 million smartphones in the third quarter globally, which was 20 per cent QoQ growth. These are compelling because globally as much as in India (which is among top three markets), we are gaining share. When you establish a new ecosystem, you have to be patient and give time and for us, we are on the right track. The year 2014 is when more innovations will happen and drive more acceptances for these devices.

How about in the feature phones segment?

There is still 150 million in terms volume market for feature phones in India (in 2014). For example, we sold one million units of the Nokia 105 in four weeks after the launch in September in India and we have many such devices, which were sold like this because of the features and services to consumers.

When does the Microsoft deal close and what will be its impact, especially to Nokia workers at the Chennai factory?

We have been saying that the deal may close by first quarter of next year.

Across all the assets of devices and services that Nokia has, will be transitioned to Microsoft. A core team has been set up from both the companies that are meeting periodically and continuously to make sure that the ‘day one’ is very smooth.

They want to make sure people (employees) down the line can focus on business continuity in the market and consumers. Rest will be easier to handle in their (team leaders) own teams.

How about on the tax issue? By when do you expect a decision on that?

The tax case still goes and we cannot comment on that as it is sub-judice. What we have been always saying is that it’s always to have as much transparency and stability in policies.

Published on March 12, 2018

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