CHENNAI: Brand Nokia is back on the Indian mobile manufacturing landscape. The flagship handsets, which were once rolled out of the Sriperumbudur facility, suspended production in November, 2014. Nearly after a two-year hiatus, they are now being produced at contract manufacturer Foxconn’s facility in Sri City SEZ, Chittoor. “The company is currently producing feature phones from the Sri City facility,” confirmed an official, without disclosing specifics. Nokia’s new owner HMD didn’t confirm or deny, but said its re-entry would be via feature phones. “HMD has not set out its timetable or product roadmap yet, but will be making announcements in due course. HMD will begin operations selling its existing range of Nokia feature phones. It will also start developing a new smartphone portfolio,” an HMD spokesperson told Express.
Some of Nokia’s former workforce were recently re-employed at Sri City by Foxconn, which also counts smartphone brands like Xiaomi, Asus, Oppo as customers. Nokia’s focus on feature phones comes at a time when the Indian market is flooded with smartphones as low as Rs 2,500. But analysts think the market exists, particularly, in India. “As per Trai, new subscribers additions are happening from tier 2 & 3 locations and among this strata of population, demand is 100% for feature phones, as they do not prefer touch models or go online. Also, 65% of the total handsets shipped last year in India were feature phones,” explained Faisal Kawoosa, Lead Telecoms Analyst, CMR.