If Nokia Valued the African Consumer, Why Launch Dumb Phones Here?
I hear that 8 Nokia executives were in Nairobi “to listen to African consumer’. They were also here to launch the two phones, Nokia 100/101, which are single and dual-sim respectively. The last time Nokia executives were here was sometime in June 2010 when they ended up even launching an innovation which they stole for some smart young Kenyans.
So today the 8 wolves came back and this time they claimed that the “Nokia 101 & X1-01 were conceptualized in Nokia research centre in Nairobi”. So? We are suppose to celebrate for that? They should have been manufactured here then. During the June 2010 launch, the 4 low-budget phones unveiled were suppose to be available in this market early enough. Most of the phones just arrived in this market this year or in November 2010.
And I wonder why Nokia has this mentality that Africans are some primitive, skin covered know-nothings whose best technology can only be some dumb phones which are priced 3 times as expensive as their counterparts from other manufacturers. Who advises Nokia on such? Can’t we see Nokia launch the E or N series phones in Nairobi, Johannesburg, Cairo or even Bamako? Are Africans just backward to Nokia?
If you heard some of the MCs Nokia had to make look African here talk about Africa like it is one country. We can vouch for technology as one continent but Africans are not living in stone age and don’t need any favours from anyone. If Nokia was to take the continent serious, it would address the market problems like offering operator billing like they do in New Zealand, UK and other parts of Europe. Just today, the Daily Telegraph reported how operator billing has doubled up apps sales in UK.
We have cheaper dual-sim phones from the OEM vendors like Tecno, TechCom and Zedd Mobile. Their prices range from Ksh 2,500 to Ksh 4,600 which is cheap compared to the Ksh 3,000 to Ksh 8,000 range for Nokia Dabo Dabo phones. The Ksh 4,500 TechCom and Zedd Mobile phones are great and match the Ksh 12,000 Nokia smartphones like X2. Nokia is nowadays selling a name. Nokia is basically the Barclays Bank of mobile phone in Kenya. Tecno, TechCom and Zedd Mobile are the Equity to the African consumer.
I wont bet on Nokia giving African serious though if not only to dump the 2003 technology into the market. Nothing is innovative on the phones and they are much dangerous to out environment than any others. The technology used to make them is more than a decade old.