Elop: Growth? Look to developing countries

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Nokia capitalising on data demand with affordable devices and services, CEO says

The demand for data services in the developing world provides manufacturers with one of the biggest opportunities for growth, according to Nokia CEO Stephen Elop.

Speaking during the GSMA’s keynote on ‘Connecting the Next Billions to the Internet’, Elop told delegates that more than 70 million people currently use the Nokia Xpress browser, which allows users to access cheaper data on demand thanks to cloud-based compression software.

The service now attracts three times as many customers as it did last year and saves customers over $1 billion (£650 million) a day in data charges globally, a figure he expects to grow in the coming years. The service is available in many of its handsets marketed at the developing world, including the Nokia 301 which also has a standby battery life of 39 days.

According to Elop, battery savings and cheaper internet access are vital in devices aimed at this market, which Nokia has so far capitalised on.

“Today, Nokia has reinvented the battle for affordable phones and mobile technology,” Elop said. “We have taken the technology available in smartphones and with advanced networks and looked at how we can make that more affordable, accessible to more markets and at a wider price point.

“The next billion people to connect want the same things as everyone else. Individuals may only make a few dollars a day – maybe even less than that – but suddenly he or she has the same level of technology and information that was once reserved for the middle class, or in the case of cloud computing, businesses.

“We get a lot of attention for our Lumia smartphones and we are proud of those devices but we are proud as well of the work we are doing with our feature phones and our lower-end smartphones. Many people have a small budget and network constraints. They ultimately share the same standards but they are held back.”

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