The last few days I have been wanting to buy a new phone for myself. Now I already own a few phones of Nokia but I was considering an upgrade to the recently purchased 1650.

I have a decent budget of about INR 5500 (approx. US $110). Let me tell you my requirements. I have a N82 as my main phone which has an 8GB Micro SDHC card in it. I have another SIM which I use, and I just need a phone which can store all my contacts in the same format on my N82 and at the same time offer me good battery life. I also would like to be able to transfer data(my contacts) to and fro on both my phones. I also don’t want a small crammed screen. This means that my phone should have the following things.

1.) A huge Phonebook which supports multiple entries.
2.) Good battery life
3.) Bluetooth, PC suite support would be an icing on the cake.
4.) Colour screen with good resolution.

I have spent a lot of time looking at the prices of various models. Its surprising that Nokia has very few models that have all of these features in such a price. What’s even more shocking is that Motorola is offering phones in the range of approx. INR 3400 (US $68) with Micro SD card slots. LG, with its KG195 model is also offering Micro SD card slots. Nokia’s closest offering to take them on is the 3110 Classic, which retails for approx INR 4100 (US $82).

Sure Nokia has a lot of models in the lower price range, but are they offering the features its competitors are offering? The cheapest phone offering Bluetooth functionality in Nokia’s current line up is the 2600 Classic. The other expectations (read list above) have already been met by the lower end models. The 2600 Classic retails for Rs. 3000. If I added another 400 bucks (US $8), I could get a phone which had a memory card slot too!

The point I am trying to make here is, If your competitors can provide such options on such low end phones, what is stopping you (Nokia) from doing the same?

I would also like to ask Nokia these questions:

Why would a customer want to buy your product over your competitors’ products?
What else, apart from the brand Nokia are you selling him?
Why should he not consider another product over yours?
How are you providing him better value if you cannot match up to your competitors?

I have been looking at the phones in that segment and let me tell you, there are a multitude of offerings. Starting from INR 1200 (US $24) all the way upto INR 5500 (US $110) there are about 97 phones available from various manufacturers. This is not counting the Chinese offerings.

The Chinese phones are flooding the market and a recent Economic Times (A leading English business newspaper in India) reported that the Chinese handset market in India is reported to be a INR 4000 Crore market. That is approximately a US $0.8Billion market they own. Some of the reasons for their success… touchscreen, big screen, dual SIM, memory card support, TV support.

Now I am not saying Nokia release models with such capabilities, but they can definitely compete by offering features what their competitors (the branded ones) are bundling.
It’s time Nokia start taking these low end consumers seriously. I am tempted to look at the other competitors since there aren’t any offerings from Nokia that excite me and if I can get a good product with all those features in a lower price, why should I spend more?

What do you think? Leave your comments below!

The basis on which I have quoted the price and the number of phones available is this link, it gives a rather good overview of the prices prevailing in the Indian mobile phone market.