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Competition hotting up in our end of the handset market

I just returned from the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, a monster event with 70,000 plus attendees that puts the ITU Telecom World events to shame. No wonder ITU’s Hamadoun Toure was introduced at the Ministerial Program as being a good friend from GSMA’s sister organization.

We talked policy, but the real game was the exhibition. NYT reports one of the more significant piece of news to emerge:

The new handsets, which the company introduced at the Mobile World Congress industry trade show in Barcelona, reinforced Nokia’s strategy of aiming at the lowest-priced but fastest-growing segment of the market. The Nokia 105, the company’s new basic, entry-level phone, will sell for 15 euros, about $20. “Nokia is targeting the right end of the market with new, inexpensive phones,” said Francisco Jeronimo, an analyst with IDC in London. “This is where the growth is.”

In 2012, the global market for cellphones that cost $250 or less grew by 99 percent from 2011, and accounted for more than half of all cellphones sold worldwide, according to IDC.

The upper-end segment of smartphones costing more than $250 grew by only 23 percent during the same period. Nokia, the global market leader in smartphones as late as 2007 before Apple produced its first iPhone, has done poorly in the upper segment of smartphones. It trailed the likes of BlackBerry, LG and Motorola with a roughly 4 percent market share in the fourth quarter, according to IDC. Huawei, No. 3, and ZTE, No. 5, each sold more than twice as many smartphones as Nokia.

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