Nokia Corp, which accounts for three out of every four handsets sold in India, plans to focus on data-enabled value added services—including gaming, navigation and entertainment—to retain its edge in the world’s fastest growing mobile phone market.
President and CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo said the company was no longer looking at India as an emerging market.
With more than 8 million new subscribers signing up every month for a mobile phone connection, India, he said, is now “a leading market” for Nokia.
The company already has about 75 per cent market share here, way ahead of rivals Samsung, Motorola and Sony Ericsson. But sustaining the lead in the years to come is challenge for the Finland-based company.
So the focus on services.
Nokia plans to launch its own value-added services platform ‘Ovi’ later this year and follow it up with handsets based on Symbian, an open-source platform, which the company acquired recently. Once that happens Nokia would be competing with service providers and companies like Microsoft and Google.
Analysts believe consolidation is the way to go for most companies and Nokia’s market dominance and brand value will continue to be its competitive edge.
“For each of its blocks – handsets, value-added services and operating system, Nokia has a competitor and it is not really services but the leadership and strong brand value that will work for Nokia,” said Madhusudan Gupta, Senior Research Analyst at Gartner.
Nokia’s much talked about Internet marketplace Ovi, where value-added services like music and gaming will gradually be integrated. Ovi is a platform from where users can buy and share content like games, maps and music amongst others.
“We will continue to make it easier for users to explore services on their handsets and will work towards bringing Internet to a wider range of devices including mid and low-end devices,” said Kallasvuo.
According to market research firm Gartner, the value-added services market in India was estimated to be worth $1.5 billion at the end of 2007 and is expected to grow to about $5.6 billion by 2011 and data services are expected to drive the growth.