Nokia aims to ‘rip through the iPhone hype’

24 Jul 2007

Nokia has what it believes is the perfect vengeance weapon capable of tearing apart its nemesis – the much hyped iPhone – and claims that its lower-tech rival will enjoy limited success among European mobile carriers.

Nokia Ireland general manager Conor Pierce told that European carriers are hell-bent on reviving flagging ARPU (average revenue per user) levels by replacing lost revenues with new streams from high-speed data services.

He said that the company’s N95 smart phone, which will launch in Dublin later today, is superior to Apple’s vaunted device, which he warns will not meet the criteria of most carriers intent on replacing lost revenues through data.

“The most obvious thing about the iPhone is that it is not a 3G device,” says Pierce. “Return on investment for European operators is increasingly based on data traffic. HSDPA (high speed downlink packet access) is what’s required to make it easier for an end-user to consume data services. It will be interesting to see what will happen.”

He says the N95 will be the flagship device that Nokia will use to fight off competition from new-entrant Apple into the European mobile handset market.

Compared with the Apple iPhone – a quad-band 2.75G device with a 2-megapixel camera – the Nokia N95 is a HSDPA-based 3G device with a 5.5-megapixel device, GPS navigation system and a video and music player to boot.

“It will be good to see competition following in our wake but the N95 will have no competition,” he claims. “The N95 comes with a GPS built-in receiver and you can access city-level street mapping. Also the 5.5-megapixel camera gives the device a clear lead in the market for camera phones.

“The iPhone by comparison doesn’t have video capture, it can’t send multimedia messages, there will be no pre-installed games and it doesn’t support 3G. As I said, European operators will be interested in devices that allow them to get a return on investment through increased data revenues to replace falling voice revenues.

“For the consumer the N95 will be the ultimate device if you don’t want to carry your music player, your tablet PC, your sat-nav device … it’s all there in one device.

“If you were to look at the technology, there’s not much competition between the two models, the N95 and iPhone.”

Pierce said that Nokia is moving from being a device-led phone company to an internet-led company. “We intend to be a global leader in mobile internet services. That means we want to be the leader in offering end-user internet services by 2010.

“We are changing the dynamics and the business model. For a mobile handset to be able to access Web 2.0 applications, that is the key to the future. This presents all manner of opportunity for mobile broadband service providers.

“In the old days it was all about voice and using the internet for reference purposes. Today it is all about entertainment on demand, blogging and social networking.

“Mobile operators across Europe are finding their voice and text ARPU continually eroding and over time mobile broadband access will be key. Our focus is on bringing new things to market, creating an awareness, not hype,” Pierce concluded.

By John Kennedy