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Identity Crisis: Nokia Plans MVNO
|28 ноября 2008|
When you think “Nokia,” what pops into your head? Hopefully, “handsets.” That’s considering that Nokia remains the worldwide leader in market share. But Nokia is expanding its focus into the services area, with the latest news being its plans to launch an MVNO in Japan sometime in the spring.
According to Japanese daily Yomiuri Shimbun, Nokia plans to use the NTT DoCoMo network to support a luxury-type service, luring users by focusing in on the high-end handset market.
So why is the Big handset Kahuna launching its own cell company? A couple of things spring to mind, not the least of which is the fact that Nokia is the worldwide leader but owns only 1 percent of the Japanese market. The MVNO could be a Trojan horse for its handsets. The other thing worth considering is Nokia’s increasing push into services and applications — first in the content and Web space with its Ovi.com portal, and now in network services on a resale basis. I suppose one could say there are synergies in the business model.
Others would say it’s a bit schizophrenic for a handset manufacturer to take the risk of becoming an operator; or, for that matter, to stray into developing in-house applications when the trend is toward embracing third-party developers, and considering the continuingly weak economy, which promises to be a tough one for vendors any way you slice it.
Is Nokia suffering an identity crisis? Whatever the answer is, the vendor might still face an uphill battle; while NTT DoCoMo’s dominant market share has been slipping — dipping below 50 percent for the first time earlier this year „џ the reason is an ongoing price war begun by Softbank Mobile. Nokia, on the other hand, hopes to chip away at DoCoMo not by underpricing them, but reportedly by catering to the jet-set crowd that DoCoMo is ignoring. If Helio showed us anything, it’s that bling doesn’t mean ring. That MVNO, which specialized in the high-end, data-heavy, tech-savvy, super-sleek handset segment, failed and was taken over by Virgin Mobile USA earlier this year. And yet another concern is whether the market will accept a service offering that only offers one vendor’s handsets.