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Interview: HMD Global VP Sanmeet Kochhar on why Nokia devices are ‘future-proof’

HMD Global Vice President Sanmeet Kocchar confirms that Nokia will be bringing 5G-enabled devices at a reasonable price point in India

Written by Arun Rawal | New Delhi | November 27, 2020 1:34:31 pm
nokia 2020 strategy, nokia 2020 smartphones, nokia 2.4, nokia india 5g smartphone, sanmeet kochhar nokia vice president, hmd global nokia market shareNokia 2.4 has a 6.5-inch HD+ display (Express Photo: Arun Rawal)

HMD Global introduced its budget Nokia 2.4 in India yesterday priced at Rs 10,399. While the specifications are more humble given what the competition is offering, the company says its aim is to make devices which are “future-proof” by offering its customers regular updates.

“We promise two years of Android OS upgrades. For example, this device has been launched with Android 10, but it is ready for Android 11 and so on making it future-proof. I have not seen too many of our competitors do that. Most of the people in our target segment spend six to seven hours on their phone every day and have their personal data on it including financial details, passwords etc. Therefore, security is important and we offer monthly security updates for three years. The overall build quality, craftsmanship and how durable the device not just from a hardware perspective, but also from software and security,” Sanmeet Kochhar, the Vice President of HMD Global told indianexpress.com over a call.

He added that the phone is “targeted at people who are either looking to attend online classes, doing work online or immersive entertainment online.” In fact, the pandemic has seen an increased demand for budget phones as more users are now dependent on their mobile phones for daily tasks.

Kochhar also explained why HMD Global avoids the specifications race, which is all too common in India. “We try not to get into this commoditisation race. Let’s say today you get a phone with a Type-C port, two cameras and six months after someone launches a phone with three cameras. Today, you are buying with 2GB RAM, tomorrow someone will be there with 3GB or 4GB RAM. These things keep changing. We look at the larger, overall value that the phone delivers to you, not just in terms of specifications, but software and security,” he pointed out.

ALSO READ | Nokia 2.4 first impressions: A budget smartphone banking on software

Kocchar also believes that Nokia still has a large reach and brand recall value. HMD Global is still betting that those users who upgrade from feature phones to smartphones will put their money on Nokia.

“There is a very strong feature phone user base that we have in India. Globally, we are market leaders in feature phones. So, when they are moving towards smartphones, we believe that they will always go for a brand they have used in the past. Reliability is something they are looking in their smartphones. There is a very good chance they will resonate with the brand,” he said.

Recently, Indian smartphone maker Micromax made a comeback with two new phones, but Nokia is not worried about the competition from the homegrown brand. Kochhar stated that most of the Nokia phones are made in India only.

“The market is so competitive and commoditised. I don’t want to comment on a particular competitor of ours but we have one of the biggest reach in the country with over 100,000 stores, 700 distributors and 300 care centres… Also, except for Nokia 8 and Nokia 9 Pureview 100 percent of the devices we are selling today are made in India. We are working closely with our partners to see how we can scale up our sourcing opportunities in India,” he said.

When asked if HMD Global plans to bring any of its 5G phones in India, he said the company would look at “bringing devices which are 5G-enabled at a price point which is for the masses.” Nokia recently launched its Nokia 8.3 5G in US markets, though Kochhar refused to comment on whether the device will make its way to India.

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