India has always been one of the most important markets for Nokia and the company is targeting an over 50% market share in the country by 2012, according to a report by The Economic Times.
Nokia launched six new phones at its Nokia World 2011 conference in London this week, with four phones in the Asha lineup targeted at bringing smartphone-like features and Internet connectivity to the feature phone market and the high-end Lumia 710 and 800 phones powered by the Windows Phone 7 operating system.
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The Nokia Asha series of handsets are expected to be priced between ₹ 4,100 and ₹ 8,000 in India, while the Lumia 710 and 800 are expected to retail at ₹ 19,000 and ₹ 29,000 respectively, says the publication. Although it is unclear how close these prices are going to be to the actual MSRP labels on the phones, the official prices of the Asha range of €60 – €115 practically confirm that they are going to be very competitively priced in India.
India has a population of over 1.2 billion, with over 800 million mobile phones currently in use, the majority of them being feature phones. Nokia aims to target the huge untapped potential of this market with its variously priced handsets and cater to every need, even as it seeks to bring more people over to the smartphone side.
Nokia India vice president and managing director D. Shivakumar said, “India is not the right market for anybody to just do a value play in any one category. If you want to be meaningful, you have to be a full line player.” This is likely a reference to companies like Apple that only cater to the high-end segment of the market and have seen very little success in the Asian country.
Although Nokia has clearly launched the Asha lineup with the Indian market in mind, with the name “Asha” itself being the Hindi word for “hope”, it’s just as eager to make its Windows Phone 7-powered Lumia phones a success in India as well. There is no dearth of the rich and affluent in India and Nokia is keen to capture their attention.
The company is including India in its plans to launch a global advertising campaign promoting the launch of its flagship Windows Phone 7 handsets and both Nokia and Microsoft are preparing for a big launch. The two companies are training 12,000 employees to be on hand to sell Lumia phones to customers on the launch day and beyond.
“It is the most important launch for us and the benchmark that we have set for ourselves is that it must be the most impactful consumer products launch in the country,” Shivakaumar said. With the grand goal of reining in over half the mobile phone market in a country the size of India, we’d expect no less from the Finnish phone maker.