Nokia to bring 4G, 3G phones at lower prices in India

Nokia to bring 4G, 3G phones at lower prices in India

Erstwhile market leader Nokia has indicated it may enter into a price war for 4G and 3G mobile phones as it struggles to regain the top position which it lost in 2012 to South Korea's Samsung, presently the largest selling brand in India.

"We want to continue to push price points lower and lower than anything we have today. That's the statement for both 3G and LTE (4G) because that is the thing which gives us scale of the ecosystem," Microsoft's Mobile Device Sales, Corporate Vice President Chris Weber told PTI in an interview.

US IT giant Microsoft now owns Nokia's mobile phone business. The company leadership position was adversely impacted mainly due to abundant flow of cheap Chinese phones.

Nokia's cheapest 4G phone Lumia 635 is priced around Rs 11,300 before taxes but it is not available in India.

"We are also trying to push price point even lower on LTE devices like 635 to take advantage of that (Indian telecom operators plan to launch 4G services) opportunity. The goal is to make sure that we have a full portfolio that plays in to that opportunity," Weber said.

The company has plans to launch its latest 4G-enabled phone Lumia 830 priced at around Rs 26,000 before taxes by October, as per sources.

Microsoft Devices also unveiled another 4G-enabled handset Lumia 735 priced at around Rs 17,500 but sources were not sure about company's plan to launch this model in India.

Shortage of affordable devices to access 4G services has been identified as one of the main reason for many telecom operators not rolling out 4G network in the country.

Consumers may get about 10-12 times more Internet speed on mobile phones in 4G compared to average speed they get using 3G services.

Reliance Jio Infocomm holds pan India broadband wireless spectrum, which can be used for 4G services, since mid 2010.

The company has announced its plan to launch the latest telecom service in 2015. As per rules, 2015 is the last year for all companies who won BWA spectrum to roll out services in at least 90 per cent of the service areas, failing which the Department of Telecom will have the right to withdraw the radio waves.

Other holders of this spectrum include Tikona Digital and Augere, who are yet to start their services. Aircel has announced launch of its 4G service in 6 service areas against eight circles where it holds BWA spectrum.
Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular, Reliance Jio, Aircel, Reliance Communications and Telewings (Uninor) in February won spectrum in 1800 Mhz band cumulatively for Rs 37,572.60 crore.

Airtel, Reliance Jio, Vodafone and Idea have plans to provide 4G services in the 1800 Mhz band, which has been used so far for providing 2G services.

Weber said that Microsoft Devices has been discussing with Indian telecom operators for partnerships.
"We have lot of conversations going on with operators but specifically we are very bullish on LTE opportunity in India. Our conversation had been quite productive," Weber said.

As per market research firm International Data Corporation (IDC), Nokia was the third largest player in the second quarter of 2014 in the Indian mobile phone market with a 10 per cent market share. Samsung topped the chart with 17 per cent, closely followed by Indian brand Micromax with 14 per cent share.

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