Nokia launches new €15 basic handset

Monday 25 February 2013 19.29
Nokia chief executive Stephen Elop unveils €15 phone
Nokia chief executive Stephen Elop unveils €15 phone

Nokia has launched a €15 phone to shore up its position in the basic handset market, where it has lost share while it focused on developing expensive smartphones.

The Nokia 105 was introduced at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and will go on sale later this quarter.

It is the successor to the 1280, which sold more than 100 million units.

The company also unveiled a €65 phone with some Internet access and lower-priced versions of its Lumia smartphones, filling in the gaps in its product line-up between its high-end Lumia devices that run Microsoft software and its mid-tier Asha feature phones.

The Finnish company hopes the new phones will increase sales in emerging market and shows it is refocusing on the cheaper end of the market, where it makes the bulk of its handset revenue.

"That is a key part of our approach to competition, particularly in a country like China," said chief executive Stephen Elop at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

''There's a very large number of inexpensive and largely undifferentiated devices. We believe we have to offer differentiation at each price points,'' he added.

The company is struggling to catch up with Apple and Samsung in smartphones, while also losing share in the low-end market where sales have suffered as it focused on smartphones.

The Nokia 105 would probably be the cheapest phone available in the world from a major brand, analysts said. "The pressure is now on the Chinese vendors. Why will any consumer in the world buy a cheap Chinese phone when they can have the same price with better quality from a well known brand?,'' they added.

Nokia's Lumia phones have won plaudits from industry analysts for features such as photography and mapping, but sales have been dwarfed by devices from the likes of Samsung running Google's Android software and Apple's iPhone.

Nokia's market share in smartphones have fallen to around 5%, while Apple and Samsung together control over half the market.