Nokia started their keynote with slides displaying statistical analysis about mobile phones. The first couple of slides set the precedent that the talk will be all about mobile phone penetration in places like Africa & India.

These slides was a set of slides showing Nokia’s sales numbers. The numbers are staggering:

  • 13 Nokia devices made and sold per second
  • 1.2 Billion Nokia phones in use
  • 220 countries and territories covered by Nokia

And the slide that caught my attention stated that in 92 seconds during the keynote:

  • 806 Nokia devices were made and sold
  • 15,333,334 phone calls were made using Nokia phones
  • 3,373,600 text messages were sent using Nokia phones

The slides Nokia showed were of rural India & Africa, farmers and small business owners in remote locations using Nokia’s handsets. It was as if Nokia was driving three key point:

  1. We sell a lot of phones.
  2. A huge chunk of our customers are from the rural parts of the world.
  3. These farmers and small businesses in rural areas of Africa & India are our core focus.

A few interesting announcements that were made:

  • Nokia Growth Economy Venture Challenge – a competition targeted towards emerging markets where an application that encourages upward mobility will get an investment of $1 million.
  • Sesame Street has partnered with Nokia Developer Forum’s Calling All Innovators competition that calls on developers to build locally relevant applications. More details can be found on the official website –
  • Nokia Money – a service that will enable billions of people access to banks using their cell phones.

The keynote was that Nokia’s phones cater to the very lowest segment of the market and these customers make use of cell phones for not just making calls but for banking, getting weather information, and even learning. Despite the lack of existing technological infrastructure in markets like India and Africa that deprive users of facilities like 3G, value added services and information can be brought to people on their handsets by something as basic as SMS which is what Nokia is focusing on. Selling more cheap phones cheap phones in rural markets to retain global market share.

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