Interviews: India still in focus for Nokia Mobile, as well as affordable flagships

After its recent investment round, Nokia Mobile (HMD Global) has resources to improve its business and make a turnaround towards growth and becoming one of the top mobile players. In an interview for Economic Times, Nokia Mobile’s CEO Florian Seiche revealed some details about how the recent investment will be use to fund India operations, while Nokia Mobile’s CPO Juho Sarvikas in a separate interview for IndianExpress revealed the market segment the company is focused on.

In the ET interview, CEO Florian Seiche said that Nokia Mobile will be working on making India an export hub for Nokia devices. Nokia feature phones are already manufactured in India, and the same should be for Nokia smartphones as well. We are not talking about assembly, but also using components made in India, on which manufacturing partners are working on.

Nokia Mobile will partner with Qualcomm and operators in bringing affordable 5G phones to the market, but first when sufficient coverage is achieved. On an indirect question about Nokia 8.3 coming to India, Mr. Seiche said that he doesn’t have any announcement to make right now. Nokia Mobile will also continue with the strategy of delivering low-cost 4G phones. The company is targeting first time users, so India, Brazil and Africa are some of the key markets where they see opportunities. Nokia’s offering of devices is between 150-250 dollars that covers a broad market portion in India and CEO Seiche said “that’s definitely our core focus area”.

On the question about how he is satisfied with sales performance in India, Mr. Seiche said that the journey for HMD as a startup is still at the beginning and that they set they expectations for the future high, and that “timing is now quite promising”, which most likely refers to geopolitical tension between India and China.

In his interview after the launch of Nokia 5.3, C3, 125 and 150 in India, HMD’s CPO Juho Sarvikas said that the company is focusing on the affordable flagship market, with the Nokia 7 and 8 series of devices, which should be “delivering great value to performance, great experience at half the price of the flagship”. After reading the interview with the CEO, it’s hard not to notice a conflict in messaging between core area being “100-250 dollars” devices and focusing on “affordable flagships” (400-600 dollars). I guess a company can do both, but messaging from leadership could be a bit clearer and more in sync for future interviews.

Another interesting thing is that HMD’s CPO refused the notion of a Nokia feature phone with Android, saying they have a great partnership with KaiOS and that he doesn’t see the need for Android on feature phones. That might indicate that the project of Nokia feature phone running Android has been cancelled. There is also room for change of heart in the upcoming future regarding this topic.