Comes with … a plan to rock the Irish mobile market

23 Apr 2009

Nokia is the world’s No 1 mobile manufacturer and, in the coming months, will launch its Comes With Music service to the Irish market. Alan O’Hara is country manager of Nokia Ireland.

Mobile penetration in Ireland stands at 121pc. It must be tough for mobile-device makers right now?

Mobile operators have typically seen their average revenue per user decline 12pc and are looking at services as a means of boosting revenue.

We see growth happening in two areas: devices that offer sleek form factors and, as an enabler of services, that will drive revenues for mobile operators.

We bought Navteq a few years ago and invested $8.1bn to buy the company, which has 85pc of the vehicle navigation market. We’ve been putting a lot of research and development effort into compelling new navigation services for devices such as Maps 3.0, all terrain navigation and 3D landmarks.

It is software applications like this that will be a route for operators to make money.

Nokia intends to compete against Apple’s Apps Store and Google’s Android story with its Ovi applications store.

How do you view the market for mobile apps?

This is a compelling space. Our vision is to make the Ovi store a one-stop-shop for services, from business software to the latest navigation maps and music for your phone. We also intend to make it a prime location for social networking, file sharing and email.

Software from Ovi can remotely connect to your home PC, so you can download files to your mobile phone or another terminal. We plan to have initial talks with Irish software developers and will be bringing Ovi people over to Ireland, where developers can present their goods.

It’s early days for the Ovi store, but we realise it’s important to have local products added into the mix.

What kind of software do you see the average mobile user downloading?

People will be interested in software that benefits their lives. One of the apps on Ovi right now is Sports Tracker, which works with the GPS mapping function on the handset. It tracks your progress and records onto a website where you can share your fitness regime with friends and competitors.

Business users can download a useful application called Mail for Exchange, which allows them to set up their office email on their mobile in a matter of minutes.

Nokia has been taking on iTunes with its Comes With Music strategy. How do you think this will play out in the Irish market?

We view this as a way for Nokia to drive device sales and for mobile operators to derive new revenue streams.

We want to launch the music service in Ireland at the right time in terms of getting the right line-up of devices into the market.

We have a great relationship with the local music labels in Ireland and they are right behind our music strategy. They believe it will offer them new opportunities.

The other great thing about the Comes With Music opportunity is we can localise it for Irish artists and put them to the forefront. We don’t want to make the mistake others have by creating a global platform with non-Irish bands.

By John Kennedy