Nokia plots to take Samsung's top spot

Nokia is counting on the mass market for its comeback strategy amid the rapidly developing technology of the handset market.

The ultimate goal of the Finnish handset maker is to overtake Samsung as the global leader, including in Thailand.

Nokia sold 61.1 million mobiles globally in the second quarter including 7.4 million Lumia Windows handsets, outpacing BlackBerry's 6.8 million units.

Chris Weber, Nokia's executive vice-president for sales and marketing, said the company has set a bigger marketing budget in Thailand to capitalise on an expected 50 million mobile users migrating to third generation (3G) from 2G over the next three years.

The company is working with Microsoft to bring down prices for its Lumia smartphone to below the current level of 5,400 baht.

Mr Weber said Nokia will introduce two more major models in Thailand this year _ the Lumia 1020 and Nokia 208.

The Lumia 1020 smartphone, featuring a 41-megapixel Windows Phone 8, will be priced above 20,000 baht.

"This high-end phone is designed to replace the use of compact cameras," said Mr Weber.

The Nokia 208, which can support 3G networks on the 850-megahertz spectrum, will cost less than 2,000 baht.

Mr Weber admitted Apple's recent announcement about launching affordable iPhones in emerging markets will be challenging for Nokia.

But he said the company has a wide range of products in its portfolio that it can use to compete with Apple.

Mr Weber declined to elaborate on rumours that Microsoft had tried to purchase Nokia but was unable to conclude an acquisition price.

Yantana Simavanichkul, Nokia Thailand's managing director, cited a report by the German research firm GfK that as of June 30, Nokia had a 20% share of the Thai smartphone market and a 30% share of the country's overall handset market.

GfK projects 18-20 million mobiles will be sold in Thailand this year, 45% of them smartphones.

The highest growth area for smartphones in Thailand is entry-level phones priced from US$65-100.

About the author

columnist
Writer: Suchit Leesa-nguansuk
Position: Senior Reporter