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BSTR/349

ICMR Center for Management Research

Emerging Markets Strategy: Nokia Life Tools for Rural Markets This case was written by Hadiya Faheem, under the direction of Debapratim Purkayastha. ICMR Center for Management Research (ICMR). It was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion rather than to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation.

2009, ICMR. All rights reserved.
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BSTR/349

Emerging Markets Strategy:
Nokia Life Tools for Rural Markets
“Filling in the information gaps in agriculture and education with Nokia Life Tools, we strive to contribute towards empowering people with the right tools to help them make informed decisions in their daily lives. Nokia Life Tools was developed to help bridge the Digital Divide in the emerging markets.”1

Jawahar Kanjilal, global head of Emerging Market Services at Nokia Corporation (Nokia), in November 2008.
“There were many in the rural and emerging areas whose needs and pain points were being unmet?”2
Dinesh Subramaniam, senior manager of communications for Nokia, Finland, commenting on the launch of Nokia Life Tools in India, in June 2009. “It’s important to remember that this is about money: Nokia wants to sell handsets to this growing market, and providing services to farmers in India may prove as lucrative as selling us applications and content through Ovi. But better informed farmers grow better crops so, for once, it seems everyone can be a winner.”3

Bill Ray, The Register4, in April 2009.

INTRODUCTION
On June 12, 2009, Finland-based telecom giant, Nokia Corporation (Nokia) launched its Nokia Life Tools (NLT) service in the state of Maharashtra in India. This was a bid to expand its rural base in the country. The service was commercially rolled out after the successful implementation of the pilot program in Maharashtra, in November 2008. The launch of the NLT service marked the increasing accessibility of value-added services (VAS) to rural consumers in India. Targeted at the rural consumers, the NLT service offered a range of services in the areas of agriculture, education, and entertainment to address the information gaps in the rural community. Nokia began focusing on the Indian rural market in 2003 when it launched a mobile handset with features such as longer battery life, one-touch flashlight, etc., that catered to the needs of the rural consumers. Over the years, it extended its support to the rural markets by launching several lowend phones that rural consumers found affordable. However, the company felt the need to serve the rural market by offering a value proposition along with its handsets. It noted that the rural consumers, especially farmers and students, had little or no access to the information they needed due to lack of resources and erratic Internet connections. This prompted Nokia to launch a service that would be embedded in its handsets and would serve the needs of the rural community. In 1

2

3
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Michael Schwartz, ―Nokia Brings out Life Tools for Rural Emerging Markets,‖ www.developingtelcoms.com, November 19, 2008.
Dan Butcher, ―Nokia Life Tools Targets Emerging Markets such as India,‖ www.mobilemarketer.com, June 17, 2009.
Bill Ray, ―Nokia Life Tools Help Indian Farmers Get One,‖ http://theregister.co.uk, April 8, 2009. The Register is a British technology news and opinion website that provides independent news, views, opinions, and reviews on the latest in the IT industry.

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Emerging Markets Strategy: Nokia Life Tools for Rural Markets

November 2008, the company launched a pilot program for testing its NLT service in Maharashtra. The test phase was carried out for a period of four months and the results, revealed in April 2009, showed that farmers and...
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