4/3/2008 5:20:00 PM
Counterfeit Nokia N95s entering the UK market
Dealers and distributors are being warned to check the authenticity of phones they handle.
The warning comes as large numbers of counterfeit Nokia handsets have arrived in the UK mobile market in recent weeks, with predictions of bigger shipments in the coming months.
Even experienced retailers are warning that the fakes could easily be mistaken for real products at first glance.
Chinese-based exporters are bringing bigger quantities of fake phones to UK wholesalers, and more recently selling to individuals within the UK mobile industry.
Mobile obtained a fake N95 8GB this week with few initial clues that it was a counterfeit.
Virtually all the parts of the device are understood to be counterfeit, ranging from the box and manual to the casing, battery, camera, software, user interface and even the games.
The phone was sold to Mobile for £150, despite the fact that a genuine model has a trade price of around £350.
Concerns are also rising that traders will start mixing fake stock with real phones, and push prices up to ward off any suspicions.
Sources said that the current batch are simply the early attempts to copy Nokia phones, and that improvements are currently being carried out in Chinese factories to improve the quality of the fakes.
One dealer, who had unwittingly bought a fake, told Mobile: ‘I can’t imagine an older customer would tell the difference. But even for us, how can you tell, unless you put a Sim in every single one, power it up, and give it a proper going over?’
The company understood to have exported our fake N95 is offering counterfeit Nokia 8800s as well as other devices.
A spokeswoman for Nokia said: ‘Our enforcement activities are continuous and on a global scale. We have a network of investigators and specialists working to protect our brand and consumers. This is unfortunately a serious issue that affects many companies with successful products.’