Rural India on Nokia’s map, route could be microfinance

Rural India on Nokia’s map, route could be microfinance
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First Published: Thu, Jun 26 2008. 11 27 PM IST
Updated: Thu, Jun 26 2008. 11 27 PM IST
New Delhi: The world’s biggest mobile phone maker, Nokia Oyj, will turn its sights in India to the countryside as it seeks to expand in one of the fastest-growing wireless markets, president and chief executive officer Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo said Thursday.
Kallasvuo, making his third trip to India in four years, said mobile phones could make a profound change in rural areas, which are home to two-thirds of India’s 1.1 billion people but many of which have no access to telecommunications.
“People can earn their living, stay in touch and reach their mobile communities more easily and, definitely yes, we have to put a lot of more emphasis here to increase our presence and penetration in the rural areas,” he said.
“We see and continue to see rural areas as a great opportunity and potential in the future,” he told reporters here.
The Indian unit of the Finnish company said in a press statement that it will study microfinance initiatives to increase market share. It would also soon make specific offerings to make buying a mobile phone more affordable.
“Nokia India, which is now engaged in providing agriculture-based solutions catering to farmers, is working with content providers and has started programs for farmers,” it said. The solutions range from providing information on market prices for agricultural products and weather updates to financing options, it said.
Nokia aims to leverage its distribution network to expand into rural India and tap unserved markets. It also plans to launch awareness programs for consumers in the villages to educate them about the benefits of mobile phones.
India is adding about eight million mobile-phone subscriptions a month, making the country one of the world’s fastest-growing markets for Nokia and its competitors.
Nokia also plans to tap opportunities presented by Internet services on mobile phones.
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First Published: Thu, Jun 26 2008. 11 27 PM IST