Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia is set to launch cheaper handset models
in an attempt to fend off growing competition from Chinese rivals in
the low-end market, company sources said on Friday.
The new models,
due to be unveiled at the Mobile World Congress industry convention in
Barcelona next week, show Nokia is expanding its focus after
concentrating in the past two years on catching up with Apple and
Samsung in more expensive smartphones.
The sources said Nokia
would introduce cut-price basic phones aimed at competing with the likes
of Huawei and ZTE, as well as a new, lower-price model of its Lumia
smartphones running on Windows Phone 8 software.
Details such as exact pricing were not available, and a company spokesman declined to comment.
once the undisputed leader in the mobile phone industry, has struggled
with growing competition in both smartphones and lower-end handsets.
Lumia smartphone range was widely been seen as a make-or-break product
line for Nokia due to its high margins. Its success is seen determining
whether Chief Executive Stephen Elop made the right decision two years
ago in switching to Microsoft Windows software from its own Symbian
Most Lumia phones cost over $200, and the top-of-the-range
Lumia 920 can cost over $600 without a carrier contract in the United
States and some European markets. By contrast, the average selling price
of Nokia's mobile phones was 31 euros in 2012, down from 35 euros a
But analysts estimate Nokia's market share in the
smartphone business is still only around 5 percent, and that it needs to
protect its position in basic phones if it wants to survive.
net sales of mobile phones fell 21 percent in 2012 to 9.44 billion
euros, while sales of higher-end "smart devices" slumped 50 percent to
The company sold 4.4 million Lumia devices in the
fourth quarter, including the Lumia 820 and 920 which were launched in
November. Many analysts say it needs to sell more than double that
amount per quarter to convince investors that its smartphone strategy is
© Thomson Reuters 2013