8/30/2007 11:29:00 AM
Operators lose out with Nokia's music push
Nokia has 'seized the initiative' by claiming more power to keep device margins high with new mobile services, at the expense of operators, analysts have claimed.
Nomura analyst Richard Windsor said: 'We see Nokia stamping its authority over the provision of mobile data services and this time round there is very little that the operators can do about it. This is likely to strengthen Nokia's role in the user purchase decision meaning that operators will be forced to continue subsidising higher priced mobile devices in order to keep their customers.'
Nokia's 'Go Play' event in London yesterday focused on the manufacturer's plans to break into music and gaming services. The manufacturer launched the Nokia Music Store, the new N-Gage mobile gaming service, and several handsets, all packaged under the new brand name for Nokia's internet services, Ovi, which means 'door' in Finnish.
Nokia said the Ovi brand name 'enables consumers to easily access their existing social network, communities and content, as well as acting as a gateway to Nokia services'. The Ovi.com site for the Nokia internet services will be developed between now and the first half of 2008.
Windsor claimed: 'Nokia clearly demonstrated that time for operators to avoid becoming bit pipes has all but run out.'
Windsor claimed that the Ovi concept 'fits exactly the most important criteria that we think is required for mobile data to take off; the provision of internet to the small screen in an integrated and optimised fashion. The operators have fiddled and prevaricated for the last three years in terms of bringing the internet to the mobile screen and now the opportunity for them to add value by integrating internet services looks to have been squandered. A utility-like, low margin, bit-pipe future where the value accrues to handset vendors and internet companies looks likely to result.'
Nokia's new Ovi services comprise the Nokia Music Store and N-Gage services. Also under the Ovi umbrella is the Nokia Maps navigation service and Nokia aims to bring more Internet based services to Ovi in the coming months.
The Nokia Music Store (http://music.nokia.com) offers millions of tracks from artists and independent labels via a desktop computer or directly from a compatible Nokia device, such as the new Nokia N81 or Nokia N95 8GB.
Individual tracks cost E1 and albums from E10.00, with a monthly subscription for PC streaming for E10.
N-Gage, the mobile gaming experience, will be available for download in November from www.n-gage.com. N-Gage allows customers to buy games from a compatible Nokia device.
Nokia also unveiled four new mobile devices for entertainment, music and games. The devices range in price from E225 to E560 and are expected to begin shipping later this year. There are two versions of the N81, one of which has 8GB, the N95 has also been updated to offer 8GB memory, while there are two new music phones – the 5310 and the 5610.