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India's mobile user base is expanding rapidly. Come 2010, the number of mobile users will be somewhere around 500 million. And much of this growth will come right from the heart of India, the rural India that is still untouched by the mobile revolution. People who could utilize the power of mobile phones to boost their agricultural output, to get better prices for their produce, and to add more zing to their lives. No one knows this better than the biggest mobile maker in the world - the mighty Nokia. The company that's connecting people around the globe. The cell phone sales may be falling in many parts of the world due to recession but the story is different in India. Here, whopping 10 million new mobile connections are being added every month. The rural India only has about 13% penetration so far so the real growth potential lies in the rural belt. In mid2009, Finland-based telecom giant, Nokia Corporation (Nokia) launched its Nokia Life Tools (NLT) service in the state of Maharashtra in India. Analysts viewed it as the company's bid to expand its rural base in the country. Targeted at the rural consumers, the NLT service offered a range of services in the areas of agriculture, education, and entertainment. In doing so, Nokia not only tapped the growing potential offered by the rural population but also sought to address the information gaps in the rural community. Nokia began its focus on the rural markets in India in 2003 when it launched a mobile handset with features such as longer battery life, one-touch flashlight, etc., that catered to the needs of the rural consumers. Over the years, it extended its support to the rural markets by launching several low-end phones that rural consumers found affordable. Taking its rural thrust forward, Nokia planned to offer value added services (VAS) through its mobile handsets to the rural consumers. Subsequently, in November 2008, the company launched a pilot program for testing its NLT service in Maharashtra. The results of the test phase showed that farmers and students, in particular, had benefited through this service. The farmers could access the latest information on crops, weather, market prices of seeds, fertilizers, and pesticides, etc. The students benefited by learning the English language and gaining local, national, and international general knowledge. Nokia planned to roll out the NLT service in more states of India and also in other emerging markets.
³Filling in the information gaps in agriculture and education with Nokia Life Tools, we strive to contribute towards empowering people with the right tools to help them make informed decisions in their daily lives. Nokia Life Tools was developed to help bridge the Digital Divide in the emerging markets."
Finland. national. one-touch flashlight.Jawahar Kanjilal. The students benefited by learning the English language and gaining local. for once. had benefited through this service. It noted that the rural consumers. in June 2009. market prices of seeds. However. in particular. through this service. the company felt the need to serve the rural market by offering a value proposition along with its handsets. Over the years. fertilizers. it seems everyone can be a winner. senior manager of communications for Nokia. "There were many in the rural and emerging areas whose needs and pain points were being unmet?" . in June 2009. it extended its support to the rural markets by launching several low-end phones that rural consumers found affordable. The farmers could access the latest information on crops. and international general knowledge.. global head of Emerging Market Services at Nokia Corporation (Nokia).Bill Ray. in November 2008. in April 2009 Nokia began focusing on the Indian rural market in 2003 when it launched a mobile handset with features such as longer battery life. and providing services to farmers in India may prove as lucrative as selling us applications and content through Ovi. etc. showed that farmers and students. and pesticides. . But better informed farmers grow better crops so. Having received the feedback. Nokia commercially rolled out the NLT service in 10 districts in Maharashtra. "It's important to remember that this is about money: Nokia wants to sell handsets to this growing market. The Register. weather. In November 2008. had little or no access to the information they needed due to lack of resources and erratic Internet connections. commenting on the launch of Nokia Life Tools in India. etc." .. The test phase was carried out for a period of four months and the results. especially farmers and students. the company launched a pilot program for testing its NLT service in Maharashtra. revealed in April 2009. that catered to the needs of the rural consumers.Dinesh Subramaniam. This prompted Nokia to launch a service that would be embedded in its handsets and would serve the needs of the rural community.
Nokia launched the service commercially in Maharashtra. While it focused on launching products for the urban market.Targeting the Indian Rural Market Nokia had always been at the forefront in coming out with products that would cater to the needs of the Indian consumers.having a torch built into a mobile phone is a distinct and tangible benefit. on June 12. The company felt that adding content that would benefit the rural consumers while offering the mobile handset at an affordable price would help it further tap the rural market. For reasons of affordability. Manufactured at Chennai. The micro-financing scheme will be launched in 12 states initially. The models being launched to cater to this need will have separate address books. Nokia also announced micro-financing scheme which will be made available to women first. That's not all. 2009. said that the company will also be looking to offer local content in entertainment and gaming. it also focused on serving the rural population. Nokia planned to offer VAS through its mobile handsets to the rural consumers. in rural areas a phone may be shared by several people. Nokia Life Tools The Pilot Program Taking its rural thrust forward. Does that mean we'll get Nokia phones loaded with folk music and games around folklore? Let's wait and watch. has been a runaway success. individual billings and . Promotional Strategies Nokia had earlier launched a basic handset with a torch (large parts of rural India don't have electricity and power cuts are commonplace even in the cities) -. "Innovation is something which consumers reward in this market". it is also being exported. Nokia President and CEO. But the idea definitely sounds very interesting. It allows people to make small payments for as low as rupees 100 per week for about 25 weeks. The scheme virtually removes the cell phone affordability barrier. an alarm clock and a radio. The Nokia 1100. Mr. The objective of micro-financing is to make Nokia phones more affordable for rural masses. The company signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Maharashtra State Agriculture Marketing Board (MSAMB). The scheme was tested in two states on a pilot basis. the first made-for-India phone. Launching Nokia Life Tools Buoyed by the success of the NLT pilot program. Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo. In 2002. Nokia announced its emerging market strategy under which it planned to lower the initial costs of owning a mobile phone in addition to lowering the operating costs. The 1100 incorporates a torch.
which constitutes 70% of the population -. Consumer Manufacturer Dealer Promotion Mix AIDA in Nokia ± : A ± Attention : attract the attention of the customer. Posters. Nokia started distributing its phones through a partnership with HCL (formerly Hindustan Computers Ltd. till then. too. had been mostly offered to the young urban customers) through its mobile phone for the rural people. head of Synovate Business Consulting India . considering the wide language diversity in the rural population which a lot of handset manufacturers are already exploiting. and benefits. Bill boards. but what is important is the end-offering customized to appeal to the target segment. Nokia Life Tools is the first step towards bridging the digital divide. Both companies realized that there was a tremendous growth opportunity and it was best that we utilized the resources of both organizations in an optimum manner. Product Promotion« Advertising: Through TV." In December 2008. but it became a popular product. Nokia has decided to supplement that with its own distribution efforts. Nokia has opened its retail outlet µNokia Priority¶ as well as many authorized dealers at various places. "VAS will definitely be the driving factor. "Nokia Life Tools is a range of agriculture. education and entertainment services designed especially for the consumers in small towns and rural areas of emerging markets. According to Naresh Priyadarshi (Priyadarshi). it went one step further with the launch of Nokia Life Tools. Recently. Vernacular content is already a differentiating factor. D ± Desire : convince customers that they want and desire the product or service and that it will satisfy their needs. People initially doubted the torch phone. So there is a different range for this constituency. Newspaper. I ± Interest : raise customer interest by demonstrating features. . advantages.). Dummies and display stands Experts lauded Nokia for launching VAS (which. Sign boards. A ± Action : lead customers towards taking action and/or purchasing. Radio. It is very important to understand the needs of the rural population to ensure that the services are aligned on those lines." says the company. which had already built an extensive network for its own products.affordability is an issue. Broachers.more." The Distribution Edge In rural India -. "Aimed at providing timely and relevant information customized to the user's location and personal preferences directly on their mobile devices.
The Challenges One of the biggest challenges that Nokia faced with its NLT service was in offering timely and accurate information to the subscribers. In order to drive this growth. Nokia will have to push consumer adoption by educating users and a significant distribution and service push. education. feature-by-feature. rural markets do not operate in complete isolation to urban centres.Supply Chain Management : Supply Chain Management Channels: Nokia > Distributer >> Whole seller >>> Retailer >>>> Customer Discounts are provided to online Nokia purchasers through Nokia discount coupons or coupon codes Commission is also provided to retailers on the sale of every Nokia cell phones and accessories. and entertainment.. The Road Ahead As of 2009. according to experts. Experts felt that its product innovations coupled with its ability to appeal to various segments of consumers were the reasons for its success. Nokia was the dominant player in the Indian mobile phone market. and then pushing for users to upgrade their phone. Some experts also felt that the growth of this service would be limited since it was offered only in some areas such as agriculture. . Of course. A rural push offers Nokia the opportunity of entering a market that is still in its early stage of growth. but it will take time to plateu.
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