Nokia strengthens basic range with 15 euro phone
By Paul Sandle
BARCELONA (Reuters) - Nokia launched a 15-euro ($20) phone to shore up its position in the basic handset market, where it has lost share while it focused on developing expensive smartphones.
It also unveiled a 65-euro phone with some Internet access and lower-priced versions of its Lumia smartphones, filling the gaps in its product line-up between its high-end Lumia devices that run Microsoft software and mid-tier Asha feature phones.
The Finnish company hopes the new phones will increase sales in emerging markets and help it regain its once-solid footing at the cheaper end of the market, where it makes the bulk of its handset revenue. Sales of basic phones fell over 20 percent in 2012 to 9.4 billion euros.
"That is a key part of our approach to competition, particularly in a country like China," said Chief Executive Stephen Elop at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
"There's a very large number of inexpensive and largely undifferentiated devices. We believe we have to offer differentiation at each price point."
The entry-level Nokia 105, its lowest priced ever device with a color screen, was aimed at first-time buyers in markets such as South America, Africa, Russia and Asia-Pacific, he said.
The phone shows Nokia, once the undisputed leader in the mobile phone industry, trying to fend off growing competition at the low end from Asian rivals such as Huawei and ZTE.
IDC research director Francisco Jeronimo said it would probably be the cheapest phone available in the world from a major brand when it goes on sale later this quarter. Continued...