Emerging Markets Strategy: Nokia Life Tools for Rural Markets

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

Case Details:


Case Code : BSTR349 For delivery in electronic format: Rs. 400;
For delivery through courier (within India): Rs. 400 + Rs. 25 for Shipping & Handling Charges


Emerging Markets
Case Length : 23 Pages
Period : 2003-2009
Pub Date : 2009
Teaching Note : Not Available
Organization : Nokia Corporation
Industry : Mobile phones
Countries : India


In mid2009, Finland-based telecom giant, Nokia Corporation (Nokia) launched its Nokia Life Tools (NLT) service in the state of Maharashtra in India. Analysts viewed it as the company's bid to expand its rural base in the country. Targeted at the rural consumers, the NLT service offered a range of services in the areas of agriculture, education, and entertainment. In doing so, Nokia not only tapped the growing potential offered by the rural population but also sought to address the information gaps in the rural community.

Nokia began its focus on the rural markets in India 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 low-end phones that rural consumers found affordable. Taking its rural thrust forward, Nokia planned to offer value added services (VAS) through its mobile handsets to the rural consumers. Subsequently, in November 2008, the company launched a pilot program for testing its NLT service in Maharashtra. The results of the test phase showed that farmers and students, in particular, had benefited through this service. The farmers could access the latest information on crops, weather, market prices of seeds, fertilizers, and pesticides, etc. The students benefited by learning the English language and gaining local, national, and international general knowledge.

Nokia planned to roll out the NLT service in more states of India and also in other emerging markets.


Study Nokia's emerging markets strategy with reference to India.
Analyze the Nokia Live tools initiative and understand how it contributes to its emerging markets strategy.
Understand the issues and challenges faced by global companies operating in emerging markets
Understand the issues and challenges faced by companies in targeting the rural/ Bottom of the Pyramid (BoP) customers.
Understand the reasons for success of Nokia's strategy in India and discuss whether the company can leverage on this learning in other emerging markets.


  Page No.
Introduction 1
Background Note 2
Targeting the Indian Rural Market 9
Nokia Life Tools 12
The Benefits 16
The Challenges 17
The Road Ahead 18
Exhibits 20


Emerging markets strategy, Bottom of the Pyramid, Rural marketing, brand building, brand differentiation, pricing, Indian mobile phone market, Nokia Life Tools, Nokia Corporation, Samsung, Motorola, LG, Sony-Ericsson

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