With rural India providing the future scope of growth for the telecom industry in India, players have started aggressively targeting the segment as Finnish handset manufacturer, Nokia announced a host of new measures specifically focused on rural India.
The company announced nationwide commercial availability of Nokia Life Tools which are range of services based on Agriculture, Information and Education services. Nokia claims that its trials show that the service has wide appeal and subscribers associate emotional as well as functional values with the services.
For this initiative, Nokia has tied up with MSAMB, Reuters Market Light (RML), Syngenta, Madison Research, Skymet and key government agencies, NGO’s and industry partners. For the Education and Entertainment services, Pearson, EnableM and OnMobile are the partners respectively. Presently Idea Cellular is the service provider partner for the initiative.
Mr. Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, President and CEO of Nokia Corporation said on the occasion, “As a market leader, our emphasis is on creating value for the entire ecosystem. Mutually beneficial relationships among industries and companies will be more important than ever. We believe that by sharing resources and ideas, by tapping into each other’s expertise, we can accelerate our efforts to transform our products and services and take mobility to the next frontier.”
Additionally Nokia is also offering microfinancing option to the rural folks in 12 states to drive the uptake of mobile services in the segment by making them more affordable. The company is particularly targeting the female gender among the rural segment. Handsets will be available for weekly installments of Rs 100 for 25 weeks.
Explaining the rationale behind this initiative, Mr. D Shivakumar, Vice President and Managing Director, Nokia India, “Industry estimates predict that the benefits of mobility will touch 500 million people in India by 2010. We believe that much of this growth will take place in non-urban markets, and rural penetration in India is still very low at 13%. Our objective will be to try and bring more and more consumers into the fold of mobility and to maximize customer value creation by lowering the access barriers as well as total cost of ownership. 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.”