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Tue, Jun 15, 2004 - Page 12 News List

Nokia to unveil fewer phones this year than planned

CELLULAR The world's largest mobile-phone maker says it has `pruned its portfolio' and is aiming to regain market share lost to rivals such as Motorola


A woman reads a text message on her mobile phone yesterday in Beijing. Finnish cellphone giant Nokia expects the number of mobile-phone users to hit 2 billion globally by 2007, up from the current 1.5 billion.


Nokia Oyj, the world's largest mobile-phone maker, said it will introduce 35 new handsets this year, fewer than the 40 it previously planned to unveil, after shelving plans for some products.

"We have reviewed the timings and pruned our portfolio, adding some new products and accelerating others -- and during this process, we have even killed some product plans," chief executive officer Jorma Ollila said in a statement released before the Nokia Connection conference in Helsinki.

Nokia, based in Espoo, Finland, has cut prices and is introducing new models to regain market share lost to rivals such as Motorola Inc and Siemens AG, whose phones with digital cameras and color screens have gained in popularity. Nokia is introducing five new handsets in the third and fourth quarter, president Pekka Ala-Pietila said at a conference in Singapore.

Three of the five new phones will have a clamshell design, which flips open to reveal a bigger screen. One of the new phones will target users of the high-speed mobile data network, commonly called 3G, that enables functions such as downloading video files. The handset will also be the world's smallest 3G phone with camera functions, the company said. The new phones are called 6630, 6260, 6170, 2650 and 2600.

"These new introduction will give consumers more choices of designs and features," Ala-Pietila said.

Nokia's market share fell to 29 percent in the first quarter from 35 percent a year earlier, according to US-based researcher Gartner Inc. The company's stated target is 40 percent.

Customers in Asia accounted for about 22 percent of Nokia's sales last year, or 6.48 billion euros (US$7.77 billion). The company said it expects future growth to come from Asia, estimating 60 percent of the 500 million new users added by 2007 to come from the region. It expects mobile-phone subscribers worldwide to reach 2 billion in three years.

The Finnish company expects the global handset market to reach 600 million units this year, Ollila said at the presentation in Helsinki.

Nokia's five main rivals, including Motorola and Siemens, all increased their market share in the quarter on higher sales of handsets with color screens and cameras. Those features help make so-called clamshell phones, which flip open to reveal a larger screen, popular. Nokia started selling its first clamshell model in Europe in March, years after some competitors.

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