HMD Global is set to expand its portfolio of 4G feature phones. The company is the only brand other than Reliance Jio to sell 4G-enabled feature phone but it has only one product, in the form of Nokia 8110, catering to the segment. The Finnish company, with license to sell Nokia-branded phones and tablets, has now confirmed that it will expand the portfolio with new devices as often as possible.
Speaking with DNA India, Ajey Mehta, Vice President and Country Head India, HMD Global, said the company is “exploring the possibility of launching a 4G feature phone at affordable prices.”
This should not really come as a surprise after the success of Reliance JioPhone and it is also an indicator to the fact that Nokia 8110 4G might be a success in some markets. According to Counterpoint Research, the feature phone market has been far outpacing the smartphone market, especially in countries like India, with cheaper data and demand for low-cost devices. The research firm noted that the feature phone industry registered a year-on-year growth of 21 percent during the second quarter alone.
During the second quarter, HMD Global (thus Nokia) was the third major brand in the feature phone market with a share of 8 percent. The company had grown from three percent in the same quarter last year to eight percent, which analysts believe as a solid growth for a company that resumed operations just over a year back.
Reliance Jio, which sells 4G-enabled feature phones named the JioPhone, was the leader with a market share, of 47 percent in the second quarter. It is estimated to have sold more than 25 million feature phones with 4G connectivity in the market and the support for modern apps such as YouTube, WhatsApp and Google Maps, is seen to drive further growth in its sales.
Watch: Nokia 8110 4G First Look
As far as Nokia is concerned, the company recently launched the Nokia 8110 4G at Rs 5,999 in India. The feature phone was introduced in partnership with Reliance Jio, the largest 4G network in the country. It is not clear whether HMD Global is planning a successor to the Nokia 8110 4G but introduction of new 4G feature phones with cheaper price tag could make it a credible threat to JioPhone and JioPhone 2.