Nokia is set to launch a new line of budget-friendly phones at Mobile World Congress next week.
Reuters, attributing the news to company sources, reports the Finnish handset maker is turning some of its focus back to low-end products in order to maintain its worldwide mobile phone market share, under threat from Chinese manufacturers like Huawei and ZTE.
In addition to the low-end phones, that will likely extend the company’s Asha line of handsets, Nokia is rumored to launch a new lower-priced model of its Lumia line of Windows Phones.
In last month’s report of Nokia’s 2012 fourth-quarter numbers, the company finally posted a profit again after a lengthy losing streak. During the quarter, Nokia posted a revenue of $10.7 billion, which beat analyst estimates. Nokia’s minor success in the U.S. market with its Lumia phones was given some of the credit for the company’s burgeoning turnaround.
But the global mobile phone market remains a key aspect of Nokia’s business and a new report this month from Gartner didn’t provide reason for optimism. After ruling the 2011 global phone sales market with a 23.8 percent share, Nokia’s chunk of the worldwide market fell to 19.1 percent in 2012. Samsung took over the top spot in global phone sales for 2012, claiming 22 percent of the market.
ZTE and Huawei saw modest increases in their worldwide mobile phone market share, claiming 3.9 and 2.7 percent respectively.
Analysts contributing to the report reiterated the importance of expanding the Asha line to strengthening Nokia’s position in emerging markets.