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French Version


Nokia opens marketing center in Beirut

Nokia opened on Monday its first office in Lebanon, which will serve as a sales and marketing center for Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Iraq.

Although the office will be dedicated primarily to marketing, Nokia will be subcontracting local software developers for certain jobs such as entertainment listings, according to Timo Toikkanen, senior vice president of customer and market operations for the Middle East and Africa.

"There is a sizable market here in Lebanon and the whole of the Levant," he said. "Part of not only being known but loved is understanding the local customers by having a local marketing team."

Toikkanen said mobile penetration in Lebanon is around 33 percent, relatively low compared with the rest of the world. He acknowledged that the fees imposed by the Ministry of Telecommunications are one of the factors limiting the growth of the mobile market.

"The cost of the handset is very small comparatively, the charges the government levies and the cost of the service by the operator is a significantly bigger slice of the pie," he said.

"Nokia will be working to lobby the government to see that these duties are lowered," Toikkanen said, adding that studies have shown a 10 percent increase in mobile penetration can increase GDP by 6 percent.

Nokia has also been targeting the business world by releasing its E-series mobile devices, which are designed to operate in tandem with centralized enterprise networks and to offer increased security.

Included in Nokia's new series is the E-61 smartphone ($500), the company's response to the internationally popular BlackBerry, which does not work in Lebanon. Both feature push e-mail and voice functions. Other mobile devices in the E-series include the E-60 ($450), which is already available in Lebanon, as well as the E-70, and E-50, which are expected to come on the market in the coming weeks.

Beirut 31-05-2006
Meris Lutz
The Daily Star



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