News From Telecom World

Up to 35% of handsets sold in India are replacements – Nokia

Posted on: September 18, 2008

Indian mobile users are replacing their handsets with better models at a growing rate, but there is still work to be done before Internet access via a mobile device goes mass-market, according to Finnish handset maker Nokia

Mobile phone replacement “accounts for 30%-35% of the handsets sold in the country,” Vineet Taneja, head of go-to-market at Nokia India, told the local press this week.

“Converged devices have… become a significant part of the replacement market,” Taneja said in an interview with the Economic Times.

Nokia is the largest handset maker in India, with a market share of over 50%, although much of its customer base remains at the low end, entry-level of the market, Taneja conceded.

“At the same time, we have a large market for converged devices here,” he added. “People going in for converged devices here are more than global averages. We have observed that people usually buy a converged device as their second/third handset purchase.”

The rapidly-growing mobile market and dearth of fixed-line infrastructure means that for many people, their first experience of the Internet will be on a mobile device.

But there are still a number of challenges to be overcome.

Taneja highlighted the lack of vernacular content on the Internet as a particular problem, and also noted that designs will have to change to make Internet pages accessible from mobile handsets. He suggested that creating WAP versions of all Websites would be a good place to start.

In terms of content, certain things are proving particularly popular in India.

“Our studies have shown that communication and social interactivity activities (emailing, instant messaging/chatting, dating/friendship and matrimonial search) and entertainment activities (news, sports, movies/music, and cricket) and ‘social interactivity’ activity online (IM, chat, networking, communities, sharing pictures and videos, blogs) stand out as the most popular online activities,” said Taneja.

“All these applications can be delivered on the handset in simpler formats that is different from that on the Internet. For instance, search can be done via SMS,” he added.

But the biggest barrier to mobile Internet use is likely to be the cost of the devices themselves.

Converged devices are available in India from around 3,000 rupees (€45), “so the price barrier has been broken,” said Taneja.

“But these are just basic devices that have a browser, camera and music capabilities. The real converged devices with a larger screen size and better features come upwards of 10,000 rupees (€150),” he said.

“It’s true that at 10,000 rupees-plus, affordability is an issue.”

Source: Total Telecom

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