Nokia makes bold moves to connect ‘the next billion’


02:27 AM March 19th, 2012


A picture taken on October 21, 2010 shows the logo of Finland's mobile phone maker Nokia on the window of Nokia flagship store in Helsinki. The world's top mobile phone maker Nokia says it is positioning itself to connect to future consumers under its “Next Billion” strategy and arrest the decline in its share of the profitable and ultra-competitive mobile phone market. AFP PHOTO/LEHTIKUVA - MARKKU ULANDER

MANILA, Philippines—The rapid increase in the sales of feature packed and high-priced smartphones may lead one to believe that the only type of phone that the world needs now is one that provides instant connection to social networking sites and the million or so applications, takes high resolution photos, on top of being able to call or text friends, family and colleagues.

But according to Finland’s cellular phone maker Nokia, one of the world’s largest handset manufacturers, there is still a significant portion of the global population that does not have a mobile phone, let alone one with gigabytes full of high-tech applications.

This is why Nokia has not forgotten this market and adopted a strategy to continue producing feature-packed phones—specifically the popular Series 40 phones that have just reached the 1.5 billion sales mark —at an affordable price point.

Nokia believes that tapping into this market will surely yield for the Finnish giant notable income growth in the years to come, while getting the “next billion” still without a mobile phone connected to the wired world.

In an e-mail interview with the Inquirer, Juha-Pekka Sipponen, head of products of Nokia’s Mobile Phones Unit, expounds on now Nokia is positioning itself to connect to future consumers under its “Next Billion” strategy and also arrest the decline in its share of the profitable and ultra-competitive mobile phone market.

Q: Can you expound on the “next billion’ strategy? How exactly does Nokia plan to connect the next generation of customers?

A: We want to create the best possible Internet experience for those either purchasing their first device or those that want to upgrade to better Internet connectivity.

No matter what our customers can afford, they expect a lot from their mobile phone.  They have high demands for entertainment and seamless social contact. They want to learn new skills and improve their prospects for growth, both personally and to do better at their jobs. For many of our customers, their first interaction with the Internet comes through their mobile phone so it is a great responsibility we have to give the best experience. And it’s not just Internet, a Nokia mobile phone is often the primary (or only) music player, FM radio and camera.

We’re on a mission to make the Web truly worldwide! Doing good and unleashing opportunities by enabling people and societies to realize their potential. And for those areas without Internet access yet, we also provide information and services via products like Nokia Life Tools, which give access to healthcare information and banking services; they can learn new languages and find relevant market information for their business all via SMS.

Q: Why do you think the Series 40 devices have been able to strike a chord with customers? How do you explain their popularity and what were the specific game-changing models?

A: The Series 40 platform has contributed to making mobile technology accessible to the masses and continues to change peoples’ lives for the better. The 1.5 billion milestone is a sign of the enduring value that Series 40 phones offer to consumers and our developer partners. Through the years we’ve increased the utility of the phone by adding features and capabilities beyond calling and texting. Some of the more unusual innovations have happened because we’re careful to consider the environments that our phones are used in.

In some countries there can be frequent power outages so we have extended battery life and, in some cases, provide a flashlight on the phone. We have included rubber grips to phones sold in humid places and developed dust-proof keypads to maximize use in sandy environments. Our phones support over 80 languages and increasingly offer local services available via SMS or the Internet.

Q: How do you think the mobile phones over the next five years would look like? Will all phones be smartphones eventually?

A: It’s easy to think that all phones will be smart phones within five years but remember that there are billions of people in the world who don’t yet have any kind of mobile phone. Not everywhere is lucky enough to have affordable Internet access and the demands for mobile telephony vary almost as much as the personalities of our customers all over the world. We are very honored at Nokia to have played a part in connecting much of the world via mobile voice, text message and Internet but there is still much to do at every level of our offering and Series 40 is a big part of that.

Q: And assuming that the phones will be smartphones, how does Nokia plan to compete in this space considering the market leadership and popularity of the Apple and Samsung products?

A: Our introduction of the Lumia Windows Phone has received a hugely positive response from customers, developers and operators alike. Since mid-November, we’ve gone from zero markets to 15 markets, from zero devices to well over 1 million devices. From no presence in the US to being a lead in AT&T’s LTE launch. We’re delivering on our strategy as promised and beginning to see the fruits of those labors. However, smartphones are just part of our business and the new Asha family of phones is the latest innovation of the Series 40 platform. There are still huge opportunities for this platform and its popularity with consumers all over the world.

Q: Where in the world do you see Nokia getting additional customers? Will Asia remain the market to be in?

A: Asia is a hugely important market for us in all areas of our business.  We’re seeing a great response to our new Asha devices. So much so that industry analysts have created a new category of phone to incorporate Asha’s innovations—‘Smartphone Lite’ is the name for new phones like Nokia Asha that blur the lines between feature and smart phones. Nokia Asha phones offer social media access, Internet browsing, games and apps, so the term ‘feature phone’ just doesn’t do them justice any more. Our customers in Asia are very demanding at every level so it’s great to see a positive response to Nokia Asha Series 40 devices.

Q: How would you describe the customer of today, and what are his or her quirks that are forcing telecommunications companies to adapt to quickly?

A: Our target consumers share a common trait of being very aspirational and concerned with style as well as technical quality. They want to be connected, and they have high expectations from their device, regardless of what they can afford to pay for it. Their needs and usage preferences vary and one size doesn’t fit all. How our consumers engage with apps is fascinating and we’re working very hard on making interaction with these services easier and cheaper where possible by simplifying (and often removing!) registration requests and offering try-before-you-buy opportunities on many apps.

Our customers are very savvy and know how to get the best out of their devices—we learn lots from them every day! Nokia is in a very fortunate position to be present in most markets, so the knowledge and insight we have into our customers’ desires and expectations is invaluable. Our customers are dynamic and it’s great fun to adapt with them.

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  • Pablo Juan

    Nokia makes bold moves to connect ‘the next billion’.. using iPhone.

  • NoWorryBHappy

    Microsoft bought Nokia for $1.00.
    Microsoft wants Windows on all Nokia phones.
    Windows is not a mobile OS. It is a desktop OS.
    Nokia is doomed ! Apple reigns ! Android reigns !
    Apple for the rich ! Android for the masses !

    • UPLB-2008-3****

      Of course “Windows” is not a mobile OS. “Windows Phone” is.

    • GustoKoHappyKa

       Boy before commenting better use google first ok!

      There’s no more Windows Mobile…Its being replaced by WINDOWS PHONE!

      It’s UI is superior than the STATIC ICONs of your apple and android OS.

  • Mux

     Nokia, before anything else improve your customer service. You can’t even fix the basic features of the E72 such as email. During the last software update, my message alert tone went dead and even how many people complain in your website, there is not a single response from any of your techs. Your local Nokia Care line leaves a lot to be desired too. Buying the Nokia E72 was one of the biggest mistakes in my technical life.

  • Hello

    Manufacture it here in the Philippines, provide more jobs for the Filipinos.

    Atm it’s Android.

  • Night

    funny comment – lumia windowsphone went from 0 to 1 million devices? from November to March????

    The iphone went from 0 to millions of devices in 1 day

    • diemhang

      stick to your nokia n8 will bury dead all iphones

      • Night

        hahaha good luck…. bury dead all the iphone users.. 

      • UPLB-2008-3****

        Watch out we got a bad-ass i-Fanboi here.

      • Night

        so what? me and a few other “stupid” 72 million iphone users and 40+ million and increasing IPAD users… compared to the million w7 users? hahaha how about the windows 8 tablet? whats that

    • Winfred Arman DelaFuente Lati

       I didn’t know the *FIRST* iPhone sold that well a few years back… LOL! Way to compare an old “tried and tested” phone line with a new phone line with a relatively new OS.

      • Night

        check mo kung ano OS naka install sa latest iphone before you say ‘tried and tested’ hehehe the software is also new

        windows phone 7 OS is not new, it sucks and is not selling

      • Remars Agustin

        ano ka ba Apple employee, so how much did Apple pay u to post this? not enough…Windows has servers and provides business an easy wasy to access to files and doc., I never heard of any company who uses Apple as a server so in other words, MS 7 and 8 will provide people connectivity in leisure and business 

      • Night

        good luck microsoft employee hehehe – who cares about ms 7 & 8

      • GustoKoHappyKa

        yeah so what can you do with your toy OS aside from playing games and facebook?

      • Night

        read email???? type documents?? prepare presentations??? 

        try mo muna before saying apples are not ‘mainstream’

      • GustoKoHappyKa

        Actually i do own apple products..that’s why i know its just a consumption only device!!!

        I never said apple products are not “mainstream” fanboy…


      • Night

        stupido, maraming global companya ipad na issue sa mga mid level up to executive (kasi taga basa lang naman ng email at presentation ginagawa nila).. bobo pinoy company lang siguro yang company mo kaya windows padin issued sa inyo

      • GustoKoHappyKa

        ang bobo mo naman talaga… wala naman talaga SERVER yan APPLE mo..USELESS kasi yan sa corporate setting… hangang consumption device lang kayang gawin!!!

        at saka bobong tanga wag ka mag marunong..dahil baka yan mga pinag gagamit na device driver dyan sa  android and ios nyo kami gumawa..

      • Night

        useless? tanga eh ipad nga ngayon gamit ko sa pag eemail sa outlook eh…. tanga! 

        useless…. ganyan talaga utak ng taga microsoft kaya unti unti na kayong nalalaos bilib na bilib sa technology hahaha….. asan na nga ba yung vmware contact ko hahaha

      • rexwal

        God you’re so stupid. Apple has only been the lead innovator in User Interface.Microsoftand Google have pushed out the real technology innovations (e.g. Kinect, Google Docs).

        VMWare runs an operatingsystem. I should know as I run a vSphere cloud. Oh yeah, VMWare VCenter (not VMware player) only runs on WindowsServer not MAC/UNIX/LINUX.

      • Night

        talaga user interface…. meron apple cloud tulad ng google docs mo buwahaha… stupid microsoft employees…… talaga VM runs an operating system??????? walang VMware server technology???? G A G O

      • Winfred Arman DelaFuente Lati

         Windows Phone 7 is not even 3 years old. And don’t dare bringing up Windows Mobile because that is a very different OS. As for iOS? Sure new updates, but basically the same OS. Just think of those updates as Service Packs. Same OS with added features. Yes, the OS itself is tried and tested. The core works, people like it. Dinadagdagan lang nila. Really, how much did Apple pay you? Haha.

      • Night

        mabenta pa din, cash cow pa din siya ng apple at marami siya user…. keso low tech or high tech or outdated…. importante pa yun????

        buwahaha gamitin mo na yung wp7 mo at windows 8…good luck hahaha

  • Night

    nokia is dead… this is a waste of money

    • Vassili Angelblazer

       You are wrong, they are the best.

      • Night

        best really…. better than apple and android? believe in what you want to believe

      • GustoKoHappyKa

         android needs quad core cpu just to run fluidly.. plus lots and lots of malware!!! no thanks

        Nokia Lumia FTW!!!

      • Night

        sige — kami majority will stick with android and iOS 

        hehehe FTW!!!!

      • GustoKoHappyKa

        last time i check the MAJORITY Windows user worldwide is still 91%???

        what are your smoking???

      • Night

        91% sa pc at laptop ba sinasabi mo?? good luck sa business model mo microsoft….. dati nga 99% yan eh…. bakit 91% nalang? 

        saka mobile technology pinag uusapan dito hindi microsoft office at mga technology sa opis

      • GustoKoHappyKa

        you do know mobile browsing still is still 1.3%??? i though millions na yan iPad mo?

        what??? still 90% ang gumagamit ng windows desktop??? go STFU apple fanboy…

      • Night

        STFU microsoft employee tanga. basahin mo nga ipad sold 3 million in 3 days fcuking moron……

        Basahin mo yung article bago ka mag marunong tanga! mobile at smart phones pinag uusapan dito

      • GustoKoHappyKa

         basahin mo nga ulit yung sinulat ko… i said MOBILE only accounts to 1.3% of internet access…asan na yung pinagmamalaki mo na 75million ipad and iphone!!!

      • Night

        ang tanga mo…. ipad ba ay mobile??? baka mali ang statistic mo… saan considered an ipad at tablets??? MOBILE? 

        umamin ka na sa kabobohan mo….. bilib na bilib ka pa din sa microsoft mo hahaha microsoftie ka ba???? asan na yung windows phone 7 mo naluma na hahaha

      • GustoKoHappyKa

        ay sori luma na pala ang iPad na gamit case you dont know yung “new iPad” may 4G capability na…nakapag pabili na nga ako sa US..para pag pinapadala ako ng company namin don hindi ako dedepende sa wifi only…

        Kaya pala hindi mo alam na may mobile capability na yan iPad…basa basa ka muna ha ng bagong balita..

        pangit nga lang balita..mas mainit daw ng 10degrees kesa sa iPad 2 ng sister ko.

      • Night

        kung ano ano pinag sasabi mo…. saang statistic mo sinasama yung IPAD sa mobile or hindi sa mobile? 1.3% pala ha

      • obionekenobi

        mobile!!!!!!!!…. sige bring mo laptop mo anywhere?

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