Nokia banks on gaps to capture the Kenyan mobile phone market

Gopher Ogembo, Senior Business Manager, East Africa at HMD Global displays the Nokia 1 and Nokia 7 plus mobile smartphones running on Android.

Nokia has a long term view in Kenya and is banking on the gaps to capture the mobile phone market.

HMD Global, the company that now owns the Nokia brand, re-entered the Kenyan market last year is set on not looking at the competition but the opportunity in the market.

“We are trying to capture the gaps as well as bring innovation into the market. This will help us to solidify and crystalize our leadership position,” said Gopher Ogembo, Senior Business Manager, East Africa at HMD Global at the launch of three new Nokia phones.

It seems Nokia is set to always launch multiple phones in the Kenya following its launch of four phones last year during the brand launch. The brand launched three new smartphones: Nokia 1, Nokia 6 (2018) and the Nokia 7 Plus.

The new (2018) Nokia 6 is an upgrade of the previous Nokia 6 is set to build on the success of its predecessor retails at Kshs 29, 000 whilst Nokia 7 Plus and Nokia 1 at Kshs 46,000 and Kshs 9,500, respectively.

“We’ve enhanced everything our fans loved about their Nokia 6 including making it more than 60% faster. We’ve also added in-demand features like USB-C fast-charging and our unique Dual-Sight technology, enhanced by ZEISS optics. We were the first to introduce the #Bothie, and we’re excited to bring our Dual-Sight technology to the new Nokia 6, enabling even more fans to capture both sides of the story in a truly unique way,” said Joseph Umunakwe, General Manager HMD Global.

“Featuring unprecedented design and innovative imaging, the Nokia 7 plus, running on Android Oreo, is a true hero in our smartphone range. From live-streaming both sides of their story to binging their favourite TV shows, our fans want to see more in the palm of their hand.”

“There are more than 1.3 billion feature phone users around the world, many from markets in Asia and Africa. As the value market leader in feature phones, we understand the barriers and challenges people face when it comes to the step up to a smartphone which is why we’ve made our most accessible smartphone ever. With the Nokia 1 smartphone, we have combined the reassuring quality and design of a Nokia smartphone with the latest Android Oreo™ (Go edition) software to deliver exceptional value and realize our dream of creating a complete smartphone experience, accessible to everyone,” he concluded.

Mr. Ogembo also stated that the new batch of phones would capture the attention of purposeful millenials who focus on capturing, watching, exploring, working and gaming on their mobile phones more than ever before.

Though he reaffirmed this he also spoke on the issue that mobile phone manufacturers are still not happy with, the VAT Act 2013.

“A lot of services are now converging to the mobile phones, I think it could be an opportunity for the authorities to look at. Like the VAT, I think prior to 2013 when we didn’t have the VAT for mobile phones, it was supporting lots of businesses, it was like a hub for phones but when the VAT came back cost of ownership obviously went up,” he added.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, during his tenure as Finance minister in 2009, exempted mobile phones from VAT in the 2009 Budget speech as a strategy to deepen use of mobile phones and expand the subscription base of related services such as mobile money, m-commerce and apps development.

“Now you have eCitizen, M-Pesa and so much more, so everybody is now using their mobile phones as an extension of all these apps, of themselves, their personality. It would be an opportunity for the government to reduce or eliminate the tax on the mobile phones,” Mr. Ogembo concluded.

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