Mobile phone maker Nokia Corporation is looking at tapping the rural market for its products with a focus on providing new services. The company is also considering introducing micro-financing for bringing greater affordability to its handsets.
According to Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, president and CEO, Nokia, about 500 million people may benefit from mobile phone services by 2010, much of the growth coming from rural markets.
He added that while market share was still a low 13 per cent for rural areas, India stood at No 2 in terms of market revenue for Nokia.
The company has recently launched its Nokia Life Tools services across India and aims at covering 17 states. The service provides a range of information on farming, weather, market prices and education. (See: Nokia launches Life Tools service across India)
The micro finance facility will be introduced in 12 states and will focus on rural women. Nokia had recently conducted a pilot scheme for selling mobiles on weekly installments of Rs100 for 25 weeks. The test was conducted across 2,500 villages in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.
According to D Shivakumar, vice president and managing director, Nokia India, ''Findings of surveys carried out during our pilots in Andhra Pradesh and Karnakata also confirm our belief that mobility is equivalent to socio-economic empowerment, particularly amongst women in the rural areas. Roll out in the 12 states, we believe is a step in the right direction.''