Nokia has accelerated its push into emerging countries as mature markets slow, unveiling seven new phones and internet services while slashing almost 600 jobs in its marketing and research units.
Emerging markets are a stronghold for the world’s top cellphone maker, but it has lately seen increasing competition from vendors such as China’s ZTE and Samsung Electronics
The new phones include the 1202, a follow-up to Nokia’s top-selling 1200 model that will sell for some 25 euros, two models with e-mail support priced at 40 euros, and a 75-euro Nokia 7100, with smartphone-like features.
``This refresh to Nokia’s entry-level portfolio will reinforce its dominance in emerging markets.’’ said analyst Geoff Blaber at research firm CCS Insight.
While the 1202 is a direct rival to the most inexpensive phones of ZTE and smaller Chinese manufacturers, analysts said the other models will put further pressure on the low-end phones from struggling Motorola and Sony Ericsson .
``We continue to be in a very strong position in emerging markets.’’ Alex Lambeek, head of Nokia’s entry level phones, told Reuters.
While welcoming the low-end launches, analysts said they were still waiting for new higher-end models, which would improve margins and help halt a steady slide in prices.
``This will lead to further market-share wins in emerging markets, but to get operating profit margin above 20 percent they need to do more in the high-end,’’ said analyst Thomas Langer at West LB..
Nokia said in a separate statement it aims to cut 450 jobs in its markets unit, which was founded at the start of the year when Nokia combined its three cellphone units into one.
Nokia said it would also cut 130 jobs, or 20 per cent of the staff, at its research centre. Nokia employs some 58,500 people in its phones and services businesses.