Nokia pins hopes on 3G for boosting smartphone market share

According to technology-focused analyst house Canalys, the Indian smartphone market was 2,126,140 units in the 2009 calendar year.

"The market for smartphones will be more than double in two years as two things come together at the same time. First, 3G, which is going to happen by the first quarter next year. The second one is the replacement cycle," Nokia India MD D Shivakumar said.

Over 100 million people who bought phones in the last three years are likely to go for replacement of their devices at that time.

Nokia, which is the market leader with an over 50 per cent market share in India, has given a clear indication that it will focus on the lucrative segment globally as well as in India.

During its annual technology event earlier last week, Nokia Vice-President (Markets) Niklas Savander, announcing the launch of the company's latest smartphones, said, "Nokia sells 260,000 smartphones every day globally... We plan to sell 50 million of the new smartphones post their launch."

Analysts feel that Nokia is losing out to Apple and Research in Motion's Blackberry in the smartphone segment.

Though Nokia claims they are still the leaders, it was feeling the heat in the smartphone segment and was trying to revive its portfolio.

During its annual Nokia World event held here this year, Nokia unveiled three new devices -— E7, C7 and C6 -— all using the latest Symbian software.

The three devices, along with the much-anticipated N8, will form a portfolio of phones running on Nokia's updated operating system.

"All the devices are set to enter the Indian market by this year," Shivakumar added.
Besides smartphones, Nokia will also come up with a range of dual-SIM devices.

Asked whether Nokia was forced to come out with dual-sim phones on account of the runaway success of domestic players offering features-rich dual-SIM mobile phones, Shivakumar said "The dual SIM market in India has picked up because of tariff arbitrage as the new operators are offering lower call rates. Launching dual-SIM doesn't mean that the brand got weaker or Nokia's business model was wrong."

Talking about the influx of low-cost Chinese handsets in the Indian market, Shivakumar said the market has already stabilised and most of the players are already "losing steam."

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