Nokia determined to maintain position as market leader

Urip Hudiono, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Nokia, the world’s busiest mobile phone manufacturer, is also holding a lion’s share of the cell phone market in Indonesia.

With its low-end devices dubbed locally “”HP Sejuta Umat”” (Cell phones for the Masses) and latest mobile business gadget the E90 Communicator, the Finnish mobile phone maker now controls roughly half of the Indonesian market.

The Jakarta Post had a chance to speak with Nokia’s general manager for enterprise solutions and mobile devices, Antti Vasara, when he was in town last week for a local “”Nokia Communicator Community”” event. The following are excerpts from the interview:

Question: How do you view the overall mobile phone market in Indonesia? Do you think it will develop further, and to what extent? Answer: Indonesia as a whole is a huge market. It is one of the world’s largest countries by population, and if measured by its phone use, it is just a scratch on the surface.

There is no reason that the market in Indonesia won’t be like any market which has developed. As people become more prosperous in Indonesia, more will (be able to) afford mobile devices, according to their needs.

There are a lot of businessmen in Indonesia now, and the Nokia Communicator series, for example, (is) among the (most) powerful tools that they need. Overall, we’re really happy to see how popular the Communicator series is in Indonesia.

We’re also happy to see that it’s being used for what it is -for the right reasons. People really take advantage of the features, use it as a business tool and as a replacement for their computers.

So in that sense, we have seen that Indonesia is a leading market and in the forefront with other European and Asian markets, in having the advantage for smart phones like the Communicator series. Do you think the mobile phone market is becoming more segmented, with low-end and high-end cell phones as well as phones specifically for entertainment and business purposes?

The market is segmented if you look at the customers. There are customers who want more entertainment-oriented products, there are those who want business-oriented devices and then there are those who just want normal phones to make calls and for text messaging.

We are strong in all of these lines — low-end, mid-end, high-end. We are good at (establishing) the best features for a certain price.

Competitors are usually more targeted at one segment. This is the area where the size of Nokia is an advantage so that we can offer products better than (those of) our competitors.

We want to specialize … in a particular segment, with … research and development for better features and a “”think globally, act locally”” attitude. What kind of features will Nokia be pushing to retain its edge in the market? Will there be any new products and features for the Indonesian market?

We will be highlighting features such as email, web browsing, office document viewing, GPS, WiFi and VoIP.

For VoIP, we believe that it is better for products to have both connectivities — one over cellular, and one over WiFi. The point is that you will never have full coverage with WiFi networks, so what we offer is a product that offers both, and you just make a call as usual, without having to know what technology you’re using.

For Indonesia, we brought out the E90 Communicator this summer, and we’re now starting to ship the E61. So we have just brought out two new products with certain features, and next year we will be rebranding some of our older products with smaller sizes and more features. Are there any plans to invest in mobile phone manufacturing in Indonesia?

Nokia currently has factories in nine countries, so we are very global in that sense. We are the largest manufacturer of mobile devices, having sold 111 million mobile devices during this year’s third quarter.

We have recently opened manufacturing plants in India, and this year we are also going to Romania. But there are no plans at the moment of new countries where we will be manufacturing. What about software development in Indonesia for mobile content and applications?

Yes, we are trying to encourage … independent software developers to develop additional applications on top of our smartphones.

So we have independent developers in China and India, and there’s also a lot of software people in Indonesia, as we have seen through our partners.

There are a lot of local requirements for such applications that Indonesian or Southeast Asian customers want.

So we are trying to encourage this through our “”Forum Nokia””, which currently has some 2 million global members, where we provide the documentation and technical support to help independent developers make additional applications that they can sell to customers.

We have also for a long time been utilizing the feedback that we get from Indonesia on the features that should be on the next generation of devices. One of the features we picked up in Indonesia is the automatic mobile phone settings wizard. We also received feedback on pocketability and packaging factors for our devices.

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