HMD is planning to bring a Nokia-branded 5G smartphone to market in 2020, which it claims will differentiate itself from the competition by being much more affordable to rival offerings.
Speaking to Digital Trends, HMD chief product officer Juho Sarvikas said the company saw an opportunity in “bringing 5G to a more affordable segment as we enter the market”, and it was working with silicon vendors, likely to be Qualcomm, and Nokia on the move.
Upon initial launch of the technology, manufacturing giants Samsung and LG have come to market at high price points for their 5G variants.
The Galaxy Note 10 Plus 5G, for example, has a starting price of $1,300, while the LG V50 ThinQ costs $1000.
Sarvikas suggested Nokia would launch a 5G Nokia device in the $600 range.
“I would say affordable in relation to what’s available today. I would love to see us at half of the price where you have 5G today,” he said.
Digital Trends pointed out that Huawei and MediaTek are also working on a low-cost 5G device, although that is unlikely to launch in the US market.
Sarvikas added HMD was talking to US operators about the 5G device launch, as it continues to look at ways to expand into the market.
Tim Hatt, Head of Research, GSMA Intelligence, described the move as “bold” but one that may take some time to bear fruit.
“Early 5G adopters are less price conscious and therefore more likely to tolerate device premiums,” he noted. “Compared against Samsung’s Galaxy S10 5G phone, a Nokia-branded HMD phone would mean a consumer paying around $27 less per month on a 24 month contract. This is obviously meaningful but is unlikely to sway many people away unless performance is just as good (a challenge at half the price).
“iPhone owners are not really in play for HMD, both because they sit at the premium end and are notoriously loyal; a presumptive iPhone release in September will be keenly anticipated but there is every chance it will not be 5G enabled, in which case a large chunk of the 5G addressable market may choose to wait a further year.”Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back