The company s strategy in the upcoming phase and the tastes of local consumers
CAIRO: With the number of current mobile phone subscribers topping 14 million and with the new third mobile network operator coming arriving, Nokia s Tomi Paatsila stresses the significant and ongoing growth in the market.
During a visit to Cairo this week, Paatsila emphasized the importance of the Egyptian market within Nokia s global and regional operations. While his visit, which included meetings with customers and associates, was short, he says the reason behind it is the significance of the local market.
Paatsila, the vice president of Nokia s mobile phone sales and market operations in the Middle East and Africa, points to expectations that the number of subscribers will reach the 20-25 million ranges in 2010. This doesn t mean that the company will be changing strategies; we are just using our wide portfolio, he says.
Citing the wide range of cellular lines the company offers and that cater to various needs, he says in Egypt there are two main categories: the entry market and the more sophisticated consumers.
Since market penetration rates are on the rise, so far first-time users have constituted the bulk of consumers and they continue to do so. Standard basic devices suffice for the needs of this type of consumer. This is why models 1110i and 1100 have been popular on the local level.
But Paatsila notes that there is a growing market for sophisticated consumers. During his short stay in Cairo, he paid a number of visits to retail stores and witnessed first-hand consumers asking for more advanced functionalities, including camera resolutions and music downloads.
Development in consumer needs is expected in the long run. It s a stage where the market develops, because it is very unlikely that if you purchase your first phone it will be a third generation cell phone. You might start with the standard devices. But a natural evolution in usage is expected nonetheless, whereby entry-level consumers will voice sophisticated demands and move to the second and third generation technologies as they make their second, third and fourth purchases.
For the time being, Paatsila says the Egyptian market’s significance to the company has led to the tailoring of phones to local taste. A couple of the things we heard here is that design plays a very important role. People value the design . Music is a very important thing for many people, he explains.
With these two elements in mind, Nokia has been introducing locally a number of cellular lines targeting style-oriented consumers and those interested in music.
Nokia is also working closely with current mobile operators to make sure it is selling the devices that are inline with their services. Paatisla says that the company s biggest investment is listening to the consumers and studying their needs.
We are very committed to the Egyptian market. We are constantly building up our presence in the Egyptian market, to serve our customers even better than we do today, he adds.
He says future strategies would focus on lowering the total costs of ownership, to make phones more affordable to consumers.