Nokia MD P Balaji says 3G and 2G driven mobile Internet key to phone biz

Telecom Lead Asia: Nokia India MD P Balaji says mobile Internet – driven by 3G and 2G – are key to the company’s phone business growth in India.

That’s why customers looking for selecting Nokia’s feature phones and smartphones range can choose a number of data plans – 2G and 3G — from a telecom operator.

Nokia India MD says demand for mobile phones with Internet access is growing across the country. “It is happening in both urban and rural India. The main drivers are its ability to connect with cricket, entertainment and social media on the move. We see lots of mainstream users picking up such phones with data access,” Balaji said.

3G data growth in India

This is considered as a major shift in mobile data consumption in India. For Nokia India, mainstream user means a mason or carpenter or a casual worker who want to use Internet from his mobile. Earlier, main demand for 2G and 3G access came from the youth population.

Nokia India’s MD statement reflects the recent TRAI data. 49.8 percent of 895.51 million wireless subscribers base are capable of accessing data services / Internet in December 2012 against 49.3 percent in September 2012, TRAI says.

Also, Nokia India is seeing upgrade from 2G phones to 3G phones across the nation. Nokia MD says 3G phone growth will be in line with the growth of 3G services access across the country.

According to Balaji, 2G is offering ubiquitous coverage than 3G.

Nokia India’s phone strategy is to attract users by offering phones with better processing speed, better applications and content.

He applauded the fact that several telecom operators are reducing 3G tariff in the country. “Three factors are growth stimulants for 3G. 3G networks are growing; 3G data tariffs are more affordable; and 3G phones are  more affordable now,” Balaji added.

Nokia’s tie ups with telecom operators for 3G data

Nokia, in the recent past, has tied up with several telecom operators to offer bundled data offerings to 3G Internet customers.

For instance, mobile users of — Nokia Asha 300, Nokia Asha 302, Nokia Asha 303, Nokia C5-00, Nokia C6-00, Nokia E5, Nokia E6, N8 and X3-02 — can get 1.5GB of 3G data free for 90 days (prepaid) and 1GB of 3G data free per month for 3 months (postpaid) from Tata Docomo.

Bharti Airtel is offering free 500MB of 3G data for one month for Nokia Lumia 510 users and free 1GB of 3G data and unlimited WhatsApp and Facebook per month for 2 months for Nokia Lumia 520 users.

Reliance Communications is offering free 1GB of 3G data and unlimited WhatsApp and Facebook per month for 2 months to Nokia Lumia 620 users.

Idea Cellular is offering free 2GB of 3G data per month for 2 months to Nokia Lumia 720 users.

Nokia’s Strategies in India

The Finnish phone major is sharing more demo phones with retailers to offer better experience to mobile users.

Also, Nokia phone users can now experiment better shopping experience at stores. Nokia is giving more thrust on training to sales people.

Nokia India MD also says the company is selling both Asha and Lumia range across India. Both rural and urban population is buying both phones. “We are successful in developing a strong appetite for both Asha and Lumia ranges in India.”

Nokia CEO Stephen Elop recently said he’s optimistic about Lumia’s direction.

In Q1, Nokia Lumia volumes increased quarter-on-quarter to 5.6 million units, and approximately two-thirds of Lumia volumes were Windows Phone 8 based devices.

Nokia is hoping that both Nokia Lumia 520 and Nokia Lumia 720 will be picked up well in Indian market.

The 520 is Nokia’s most affordable Lumia to-date, and the 720 is designed specifically for non-LTE markets.

Baburajan K