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July 7, 2008

Indian farmers to reap tailored mobile benefits

INDIA – Hot on the heels of Nokia CEO, Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, speaking about India as a hub for innovation, comes word of how rural areas of India and farmers in particular may benefit from the country’s accelerated mobile evolution.

Of course one of the biggest challenges for Nokia is enabling the remotest communities in India to get equipped with affordable handsets and services. Doing this isn’t by any means easy, but Nokia is embracing the challenge and will be running some interesting new initiatives to crack it. has been reporting on the plans, highlighting some of the key ideas underpinning Nokia’s approach to equipping rural India with the most practical and bespoke mobile solutions.

“Microfinance is going to be one of the pillars of Nokia’s strategy. The idea is that while India may be adding 8-million subscribers a month, the country still has a huge untapped base thanks to the initial costs of buying a mobile phone. This is where Nokia will run pilots and trials to gauge consumer response in select markets to come out with specific offerings that make buying mobile phones more affordable… the company will leverage its vast distribution network plus its support for nine Indian languages to team-up with a host of content providers to provide mobile solutions tailored to the needs of farmers. It will use its network to expand pro-actively into remote and unserved rural markets. As a follow-up to this plan, it will also start rural care centers in these geographies.”

What do you think? Is this the best way to approach the challenge of getting mobile services to remote areas? Could and should this method be applied elsewhere? Let us know by leaving your thoughts below.