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Mixed Views on Survival Hopes from B2B Channel

The news of Nokia’s return was largely greeted with positivity from the B2B dealer reseller channel, with many believing feature phones, still have a place in the current market, albeit a limited one.

CEO of Vodafone platinum partner Excalibur Communications James Phipps says the news of its planned return “made him smile” and he was looking forward to seeing what it offers in its next phase.

“All things come back round given the passage of time,” says Phipps. “There will be a market for it, because you still get a lot of customers, even in B2B, who just want a phone that is reliable. Nokia is associated with that.

Gap in the market

“Feature phones make up a small part of our sales, but there is a gap in that part of the market because all of the bigger manufacturers are focused on the high end. Nokia’s name carries weight. People grew up with Nokia phones and that brand loyalty will still exist. If they come out with a handset that is reliable, and has good battery and signal, then they will see decent sales.”

Welcomm purchasing manager Darren Tiday agrees, and believes it still has the potential to compete with the likes of Sony and HTC.

“Nokia would find it touch initially taking on the likes of Samsung. It’s not a new manufacturer, however, so that gives them a better chance of getting their nose back in. Every customer misses a device that doesn’t need charging every night. We still have a lot of customers with staff who just need a phone for calling and texting, or just use the phone for cabs and lorries and to be used as a receive and call device.”

No hope

However, B2B dealer Next Communications MD Mark Finlaysson, is brutally dismissive of its chances, claiming it had “blown it” before Microsoft came knocking and its brand no longer counts for anything.

“I can’t see Nokia ever making any impact,” he says. “We never get any demand and by that the time Microsoft bought them, they were a failed manufacturer. There does’t seem to be any latent good feeling towards Nokia at all. The brand is worth diddly-squat - they are just another small-time player in the market place.”

“They got fat, lazy and arrogant and didn’t see Apple as a serious competitor - that was fatal. They underestimated the importance of iOS and Android. They spent four years not responding to Apple’s looming threat, because they didn’t believe Apple could do any damage - the same as Blackberry and Motorola. They thought they were invincible.”

“We sell a small number of feature phones, but it is just a tiny portion of the business.”

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