Nokia: Azerbaijani economy's growth conditions growth in mobile devices market

Azerbaijan, Baku, Apr. 12 / Trend H.Valiyev /

Trend interviews Nokia Marketing Southern CIS Countries Director Ruslan Beisov in Baku. 

Trend: Nokia is a mobile communications leader and holds a leading position on many markets, including Azerbaijan. What are your expectations for growth on the Azerbaijani mobile devices market?

Beisov: The Azerbaijani mobile phones market is growing. The country almost did not suffer from the global financial crisis and, as you know, Azerbaijan was the only country in the CIS whose economy grew in 2009. Of course, as a percentage, this figure was not what it was before the crisis - 25 percent, but nonetheless a growth rate of 5-8 percent was significant for the crisis. The economy is growing and, accordingly, the mobile phone market is also growing.

The level of sales and market demand is very high, especially for smart phones, in particular, the N97, E71 and E72 models. Today, not only wealthy people own these devices, as they are in the lower price segment, which is a good example of how the smart phone market works. The Nokia 5230 smart phone shows a reasonable level of sales.

Q: What is the current proportion of budget phones in the company's general supply to Azerbaijan? How do you see the future of budget phones? What features will be available, and what will its price be in the next few years?

A: We have models that we sell jointly with Azerbaijani mobile operators. These phones carry a price of less than 40 manat on the market. The lower priced phone market is also big. But the trend is that people who use a budget phone, sooner or later want functional devices. Devices themselves also change. Functions installed in high-class phones two years ago are now available on the budget line. These are functions such as the ability to customize Ovi mail and GPS navigation, as seen with the Nokia 2710.

Moreover, expensive phones have additional functions.

Q: Nokia's Navteq deals with the navigation map development for each country. What are the advantages of smart phone Ovi Maps, and how is GPS-map development carried out for Azerbaijan? 

First, the main advantage of smart phones with navigation functions is that there is no need to buy a separate navigator. That is, a user receives a full-featured all-in-one appliance. Second, when you buy a browser, there is a need to purchase additional licenses, which, respectively, cost money. The Nokia license is automatically enabled and the user receives free service navigation. All of the above clearly demonstrate that smart phones reduce costs.

We do not have a full-featured navigation map of Azerbaijan, but Navteq works in this direction. While the Azerbaijani navigation map is developed in part, this indicates the main trunk roads and towns. We will launch the Kazakh navigation map in the third quarter, and then the Azerbaijani map. Azerbaijan is the second most important country in Central Asia and the Caucasus for us.

Q: What work is done for software localization? What is Nokia's position on this issue?

A: We have devices that support the Azerbaijani language, but not all of them support the language. Today, we are working to ensure a full software package for Azerbaijan. Although the ITC company (Nokia's official distributor in the Azerbaijani market) has worked in Azerbaijan for over 10 years, it established a local office only 2.5 years ago. Today we have accumulated solid work experience in Azerbaijan and, accordingly, we expect that we will see consistent improvement in all areas on the Azerbaijani market.

Q: Nokia has established itself as a successful manufacturer of smart phones and mobile phones. What led to the company's decision to enter the laptop market? When will Booklet 3G appear on the market?

A:  The mobile device market is now beginning to merge with the laptop market. The devices that we produce are intended for Internet browsing to a large extent.

Regarding the delivery of Nokia laptops to the Azerbaijani market, we do not any such plans as of yet. We have seen an increase in 3G device sales on the Azerbaijani market. Today, a 3G network is already available in Azerbaijan.

Presently, we are working productively with all three Azerbaijani mobile operators. Of particular interest to Azerfon-Vodafone is to support our Mail for Exchange application.

Q: The OVI payment system in stores is limited in Azerbaijan. Does the company plan to implement a payment system through SMS?

Currently, thousands of people in Azerbaijan use this service. While the online shop operates by credit card, we still plan to launch SMS payments.

We have reached an agreement with Azerbaijani mobile operators to implement an SMS payment system. Today, the question is of a somewhat technical nature. So, we can not yet determine the exact date that we will launch this service on the local market.

Do you have any feedback? Contact our journalist at: [email protected]

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