Nokia’s prepay share has rocketed this year after the manufacturer introduced new Sim-locking codes to ward off box breakers, enticing operators back to its phones.
Operators had turned away from Nokia in recent years because of the high level of box breaking on its handsets.
However, large numbers of Nokia devices were taken on by networks again, after the manufacturer installed new security measures.
Nokia’s 1112 was taken on by many operators hungry to boost their numbers in December, and sold for as little as £10, despite its high demand in overseas markets. Operators took even bigger risks with the 6300 in the final quarter; the handset’s price dropped to as little as £60 through aggressive subsidy by some operators (pictured).
Nokia UK MD Simon Ainslie said: ‘Two years ago, we were hit quite hard by box breakers. As a result, people [operators] weren’t buying our products because they were being shipped abroad.’
He added: ‘We put [Sim-lock] coding in place, so our activation ratio has really improved. The bottom line is we have to be good news for operators. Our prepay share for operators is much higher this year compared with last year.’
Ainslie (pictured below) claimed that the Sim-locking facility, which prevents phones being used on any networks other than one it is programmed to work on, has not yet been cracked by box breakers.
Many operators had drastically cut the number of Nokias in their prepay range, or offered far less subsidy on prepay Nokia phones to ward off box breakers. Nokia handsets are by far the easiest to sell on in overseas markets.
Commenting on the buoyant prepay market, Ainslie said: ‘Prepay went crazy. [The operators] really exceeded their forecasts. I can’t believe it’s all good business though.’
Read our exclusive interview with Simon Ainslie in Mobile next week