Analyst: Carriers should support 'underdog' Nokia

Telcos will need to throw more support behind underdogs such as Nokia in order to break free from Apple-Google duopoly in today's mobile market, urges Ovum analyst.
Written by Kevin Kwang, Contributor

Carriers need to look beyond Apple and Android-powered devices and put more support behind the "underdogs" such as Nokia to prevent fulfilling their fears of handing all power over their subscribers to the Apple-Google duopoly, one analyst says.

Tony Cripps, principal analyst of devices and platforms at Ovum, noted in a statement Friday that there might be a "possible lack of faith" among telcos directed toward devices and platforms that exist in the "smartphone badlands" beyond Apple's and Google's realms of influence.

However, he said these companies are missing the point. "There's little objectively wrong with many of the products competing with Apple, Samsung and Google that greater customer awareness and a big budget marketing drive could not cure," the analyst stated.

This is why telcos need to a great deal more to "assist the underdogs if they do not want to be the engineers of their self-fulfilling prophecy of handling all power over their subscribers to the duopoly of Apple and Google", Cripps urged.

Struggling to make inroads
The Ovum analyst's comments came after Nokia reported a less-than-sterling first quarter earnings report. The Finnish phonemaker revealed net sales reaching 7.35 million euros, which is a 29 percent drop from the same time last year. This follows the US$1.5 billion loss it posted for 2011.

CEO Stephen Elop noted in the earnings statements that while progress has been made in terms of advancing its new strategy revolving around its Lumia range of Windows Phone devices, it has faced "greater than expected competitive challenges".

He said: "We have launched four Lumia devices ahead of schedule to encouraging awards and popular acclaim. The actual sales results have been mixed. We exceeded expectations in markets including the United States, but establishing momentum in certain markets including the U.K. has been more challenging.

"At the same time, the lower price tiers of our industry are undergoing a structural change, and traditional feature phones are challenged by full touch devices. As a result we are taking deliberate measures to continue to renew our Series 40 platform, and we plan to strengthen our line-up in Q2 2012. We are making investments in our mobile phones business unit aimed at addressing the gaps in our offering."

Reuters also reported on Thursday that the company's head of sales, Colin Giles, will be leaving in June as it restructures the sales team following poor performances.

The executive is leaving to spend more time with his family and would not be replaced, with this duties being taken over by markets unit chief Niklas Savander, the report noted.

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