Nokia in India: Staging a Comeback

Nokia in India: Staging a Comeback
Case Code: BSTR549
Case Length: 13 Pages
Period: 2017
Pub Date: 2018
Teaching Note: Available
Price: Rs.300
Organization: Nokia, HMD Global
Industry: Mobile Phones
Countries: India
Themes: Market Entry , Global Strategy, Corporate Strategy
Nokia in India: Staging a Comeback
Abstract Case Intro 1 Case Intro 2 Excerpts


Nokia in India

In 1994, Nokia entered the Indian market. Nokia India operated as a subsidiary of Nokia Corporation. In 1995, the first mobile phone call in India was made through the Nokia network and on a Nokia handset. In order to have a better understanding of the Indian market, the R&D Center was established in 2001.

Nokia ruled the roost in the Indian mobile handset market. It launched several products specifically for the Indian market. One such highly popular product was the Nokia 1100, which had a flashlight built in, considering the erratic power supply situation in the country. Nokia also developed a wide distribution network, which helped it reach every nook and corner of the country...

A Few Missteps

Though Nokia was doing well, the early signs of the competition catching up emerged in 2004 when the company reported that though it was the largest mobile handset manufacturer in the world, its share was going down. By 2007, US-based Apple launched its first generation iPhone. The iPhone marked a breakthrough in smartphones and the iOS, a full touch screen app-based operating system, changed the way phones were being used....

And the 'Mighty' Fall

Even when it decided to do away with Symbian in 2011, Nokia opted to go with Microsoft’s operating system Windows Phone 7 OS for smartphones. Incidentally, that was the time when other handset manufacturers like HTC were shifting from Windows to the Android platform. Many observers believed that this was a defining moment for Nokia and resulted in its subsequent fall...

Nokia Loses India Too...

Nokia’s global saga impacted its Indian operations too. Though it had launched several products particularly for the Indian market, it ignored several emerging trends in the market like dual SIM phones, and continued to launch phones with a single SIM. In 2008, Micromax, a local company, launched its dual SIM phones in the market, and these grew highly popular...

The Resurrection

In 2013, Nokia launched an Android powered N1 Tablet, the manufacturing of which was licensed to a Chinese manufacturer, Foxconn. At that time, a Nokia spokesperson said that if the right partner was available, it would venture into smartphones, but it would happen only after 2016, after the agreement with Microsoft, which restricted it from entering the mobile phone business, came to an end. Again, in June 2015, the CEO of Nokia, Rajeev Suri, announced that Nokia was planning to return to mobile phones...

The Indian Renascence

With HMD setting its sights on making Nokia a prominent player in the global mobile handset market once again, it started looking at India, once its key market, with renewed interest. Within a few months of the announcement of the launch of Nokia, HMD announced that 37% of registrations for Nokia phones and 30% of all the traffic on its global website were from India. HMD found that there was 95% awareness about Nokia in India and that smartphone users were willing to give Nokia another chance...

Well Received

Soon after its launch, Nokia 3 became highly popular in India. It was launched a month before the other Nokia’s smartphones and received good reviews from customers. Due to high demand, its production had to be increased. The subsequent phones also received positive feedback...

Future is Calling?

Nokia faced several challenges too. On the distribution front it needed to ensure availability through both online and offline channels. Over the years, e-commerce had become a channel of preference, especially for smartphone buyers, in the Tier I and Tier II cities, where needed to create a presence...


Exhibit I: Nokia India – Milestones
Exhibit II: Indian Mobile Phone market

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