India's leading mobile operators Bharti Airtel and Hutch on Sunday threw their weight behind Nokia, facing a major crisis brought about by faulty component, saying the Finnish handset maker's offer to replace inferior batteries was a first in the country.
"Both on infrastructure and terminal side, Nokia plays a significant role. I genuinely believe any company taking such a pro-active intervention, as by Nokia, is a good sign of consumerism in India and this reaffirms our confidence in them," Sanjay Kapoor, President, Bharti Airtel mobile services, said.
In the handset market, Nokia is the only major player and taking such passionate decisions was never seen in India in the past, Kapoor said, adding: "They are not worried about money but only about their customers".
Echoing Kapoor's views, Harit Nagpal, Marketing Director of Hutch, said: "There are always chances of failure in operations or businesses such (as the one) run by Nokia, it is how effectively you communicate it with your customers and recover from crisis (is what matters).
"In my opinion, the scale at which Nokia is communicating with its customers it looks like a great act of responsibility."
Both Airtel and Hutch have been partnering with Nokia in terms of both infrastructure as well handsets and both operators have schemes like bundling of handsets with their connections.
Nagpal said that they in Hutch have also sent out messages to their subscribers using Nokia handsets with batteries in question and help them identifying faulty batteries.
According to latest information available, Nokia has got more than 31 lakh messages or phone calls in the last one week and have found 5-6 per cent batteries in the BL-5C batch manufacturing during the period of November 2005 to December 2006.
Asked about the impact of battery controversy on the sales of handsets, D Kishore, Director (Marketing) of Nokia India, said: "Sentiments have not been impacted at all. Rather sales have gone up. Although we do not the exact numbers right now but there is sudden fall."
Everybody in the organisation has dived in and working day and night in this hour of crisis, Kishore said and complemented its all partners like mobile operators and stockists help and support in this hour of crisis.
He said there were concerns among the consumers in the beginning but subsequently with the help of communication means fears have been allayed and hoped that situation would be normal in days to come.