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Home > India > Business > Business Headline > Report

Nokia jittery ahead of iPhone entry

June 27, 2008 03:09 IST

Ahead of the entry of the much-awaited iPhone in India, leading mobile phone manufacturer Nokia is looking at strengthening its marketing, branding and distribution network to maintain its position in the domestic market.


Commenting on Apple's new product offering, Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, president and CEO, Nokia Corporation, said: "iPhone is going to have an impact on Nokia's business in India. First, it is a new competitor, and second, it will increase customers' interest in the market."


Nokia, which has been betting big on its internet-based services, including gaming, music and global positioning system (GPS), under its Ovi brand name, also plans to introduce phones ranging from the very entry-level to mid-range to internet-based ones.


This will enable the company to counter the services provided by iPhone by giving the customer internet data services at affordable prices.


Apple's legendary iPhone -- a 3G mobile device -- has been introduced in the US for $199. Vodafone and Bharti are expected to offer the phone to their customers some time this year, thought the price points for India have not been revealed yet.


Nokia, which has over 62 per cent (according to Voice & Data) market share in India, will initially launch its Ovi services in its high-end handsets (with price points of over Rs 15,000) like its N Series and S60 phones.


These services, focussed especially to aide services like education, entertainment, agriculture and health, will be gradually brought down to the entry level (up to Rs 8,000) and mid-level phones (between Rs 8,000 and Rs 15,000), said Kallasvuo.


"The Ovi brand and its related services have been rolled out in select areas and we are making efforts to expand services across the globe. We expect to launch it in India in the second half of this year," said Kallasvuo.


Nokia is unperturbed by the entry of Google's Android in the market. The product is poised to compete with the Finnish company on its open source platform, Symbian. Nokia had recently acquired 52 per cent Symbian and plans to make the software royalty-free for other phone-makers through the Symbian Foundation.


Kallasvuo confidently added: "We welcome the competition. Symbian has already sold 200 million devices, so the ecosystem is already strengthened. No competitor, including Android, will be able to match up."


Kallasvuo also denied speculation that Nokia's internet-based services would compete with existing telecom operators. "It is all about co operation with the operators rather than competition with them; we have partnerships with the likes of Vodafone and France Telecom and we will be announcing more such partnerships in the coming months," he added.

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