Cellphone users in most of the India, Middle East and Africa (IMEA) region, unlike many other places, do not have phones subsidized by service providers. Users need to buy handsets independently, which means that while handset penetration is huge in India, the smartphone market is small compared to South Africa (one of the few countries that have subsidized phones), Saudi Arabia or the UAE.
In order to appeal to this market and establish loyalty among IMEA customers, Nokia plans to lower prices of its popular Lumia line to be more affordable in India. Stephen Elop, Nokia's chief executive, said recently that the company's Lumia phones traditionally sell better in wealthier markets.
The Finnish firm's current best seller in the IMEA region is its Asha line, D Shivakumar, Nokia's senior vice president for the IMEA area, said in an interview with the Times of India. The strategy is not for the company's Lumia to outmuscle the Asha, but for them to grow together. "It will be a twin strategy," he said, "not an 'Asha-or-Lumia' strategy. For Nokia, we have to win in both."
Nokia has released a range of phones in the 10,000INR (Indian Rupee) to 35,000INR range — about $180 to $640. "We continue to work closely with Microsoft to take the Lumia range to newer markets and price points," Shivakumar said, but added that he could not share specifics about the new prices.
Nokia sold 4.4 million Lumia phones in 2012's fourth quarter, all running Windows OS, but it's a comparatively small number compared to iOS, Android and even BlackBerry devices.
Nokia's long-awaited Lumia 620 is due to hit Indian shores in early March, after nearly a month of delays caused by import issues.
Tech2 reports that the current prices of Lumia phones in India are:
Lumia 920: Rs. 35,000
Lumia 900: Rs. 28,000
Lumia 820: Rs. 26,000
Lumia 800: Rs. 18,000
Lumia 710: Rs. 13,800
Lumia 610: Rs. 11,300
Lumia 510: Rs. 9,500