Nokia may be trying to enter the smartphone market and compete with the big boys, Apple Android and windows with their new OS symbian 3 (S^3) but currently they rule the lower end market segment in India and everywhere else in the world. This year 65 new companys joined the race bombarding the market with phones ranging from normal Dual Sim bar phones to QWERTY or touch windows 6.3.5 based Dual Sim phones all below a price tag of INR10,000.
But these phones didn’t really appeal to the middle class person as nokia has been and selling phones in India for years and India is its largest consumer of phones. But things have changed in the past few months. Now people have more than one mobile numbers, for example Mr. Malhotra a small travel agent now has more than two numbers (three to be precise), the first one is the number he has been using for years and all his customers have that number and it’s not possible to leave that number, second number has a special STD plan that he uses to call a different state where his home is and the third number is the one he uses for his outgoing because new carriers are offering very cheaper call rate with a decent signal strength, using three numbers at a time costs him less than what would it would have cost him if he sticks to only one the three. So what does he do well he used to carry three phones, then came Chinese phone mania, attractive dual sim phones, so then he had two phones, earlier this year Government of India banned Chinese phones from the market. Now what does Mr. Malhotra do? Then came 65 new companys some Indian some foreign with their choices of dual sim phones and with price starting from as low as 1000Rs. Mr. Malhotra was happy again but only thing he disliked was if something goes wrong where does he go…. But the price being so low he is willing to take the risk.
An IDC study of the Indian handset market sparked some debate, with the company’s figures for Nokia irking the Finnish handset giant, according to local reports. While the analyst firm says that Nokia is still the largest vendor, with a market share of 36.3 percent, this is down from 54 percent at the end of 2009 – and two years ago, its share was above 70 percent. Times of India says that Nokia has questioned a number of the report’s assertions: IDC does not include shipments from Nokia’s manufacturing facility in Chennai, because most of these are exports, although Nokia says that half of the devices produced at the site are for sale in the country; it questioned the fact that IDC believes there are 35 “emerging vendors” taking 33.2 percent of the market, arguing that with Chinese companies who are active in the market “sporadically,” the total is closer to 80; and that IDC’s basis for calculating device market shares are inaccurate, being based on shipments, rather than sales. India’s Economic Times says that IDC “sticks by its numbers,” and a Gartner analyst, while declining to comment on IDC’s figures, did agree with the trends – that Nokia is losing market share, with competition at the low-end especially tough as local device makers begin offering more feature-rich devices.
IDC also reports a strong growth in multi-SIM devices, which accounted for 38.5 percent of handsets sold during the second quarter of 2010, compared with less than 1 percent in the first quarter of 2009. This “unique” trend has been driven by the debut of a number of new service providers who are “responding with highly competitive tariff plans to a price-sensitive mobile telephony user market” – with users clearly keen to play-the-field to get the best call rates. As part of its damning of IDC’s report, Nokia says that based on its own calculations, multi-SIM devices make up 22 percent of the market, rather than 38.5 percent – some industry observers have criticised the Finnish company for being late to the multi-SIM game. IDC also highlighted the growth of a number of what it brands “emerging vendors”, with 35 vendors falling into this category and jointly accounting for 33.2 percent of the market (although as noted, these figures have been questioned). These new entrants have carved out a niche by offering low-cost handsets which have appealed to first time buyers, especially in rural areas. Nokia remains the biggest handset supplier, with 36.3 percent of the market, with Samsung second (8.2 percent) – and the top five is completed by less familiar names G’Five, Micromax and Spice. Overall, the market grew by 6.3 percent quarter-on-quarter, to reach an “all time high” of 38.63 million units in a single period.
Nokia has an great advantage over these new brands, its coverage is all over India while these brands don’t touch a very wide market, Now Motorola has also joined in with two new Dual sim phones. Motorola has announced 2 new Dual SIM phones in India the EX115 which is QWERTY Dual SIM phone and the EX128 which is a Touchscreen Dual SIM phone.Both the phones support Quad band GSM networks with support for EDGE for Data. Other features include a 3MP camera with Video recording, Music player, Messaging & Email , 3.5mm audio jack, FM Radio, Bluetooth, microSD memory card slot with support for 32GB cards. Motorola EX115 is priced Rs 4,990 (MRP: Rs 5,990) and offers 200 mins talktime and Motorola EX128 is priced at Rs 5,990 (MRP: Rs 6,990) and offers 300 mins talktime . Both handsets are available at all Motorola retailers across India. These phones aim to be social and come with links to Gmail Facebook, Myspace and YouTube.
In the beginning of the year 2010 samsung tried to came with a small range of new Dual Sim phone (though they had been experimenting with it for sometime) and soon the trend followed. Now finally when people have started ditching nokia for other brands and went for lower price with better features nokia lost some market share but it wasn’t much of threat to nokia as the majority stayed, as its vast distribution system and you could find a service center in almost every city. But as the year progressed and social networking became important to the teenage generation many more switched, Nokia being a brand driven by competition realized they are being left behind and finally jumped in the race with some new Dual sim phones.
As a former Nokia user I would like to ask why is that almost every nokia phone, every nokia feature that nokia introduces in its phones is after its competition?… If you remember nokia has been selling phones with 3G and video call facility for the past few years now knowing India doesn’t have 3G nor would have had it any time soon still the put the hardware in which nobody could use but still pay for it. Then came nokia phones with 3G + wifi and still no video call over wifi the worst part is some of these phones were only launched in India (we can blame all wifi enabled high end phones for that with a front facing camera). Now look at the irony when these small brands who sold phones which did not have 3G (which people anyway couldn’t use) started doing great nokia Suddenly pushed in a range of non 3G phones, from touch to QWERTY.
Nokia right now enjoys the top spot in the lower market segment and though nokia did some ground breaking stuff in the past, reached put to every Indian even in the rural areas an truly connecting people but maybe due to some bad decision making nokia recently had forgot the real people that make it number one. But there is still a bright side to all this, all this competition is driving every brand to boost its performance and making cheaper phones with good features durability and reliability. Now with the new management coming over we have to wait and watch which market they want to cater first, the majority consumer base or lower market segment ? or the high end smartphone market ? why not both?