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Nokia has recently stopped delivering handsets in the Pakistani mobile phone market. NO…the company is not going to pack up in Pakistan but the real threat it is facing for the last one year is from the “mobile phone smugglers”. These smugglers have strengthened their roots since the government has forced 100 percent LC margin for all the importers of the handsets. According to a rough estimate, more than 75% of the phones in the market are coming from grey channels. Individual retailers and wholesalers who used to sell the original handsets took the government’s measure as an opportunity to eliminate major distributors like Advance, United and i2. Every other retailer is a distributor now, no matter how many handsets he deals in, he issues his own warranty. In recent days, more than 54 such retailers are active in Lahore. One such retailer is CellCon in Lahore who replaces the Nokia warranty card with his own in order to establish his own title. When a customer comes back to claim the warranty, he takes the CellCon card and send handset to Nokia with the original card he had obtained from the company.
Before Nokia had opened the Customer Care Center in Lahore and Karachi, local shops and the distributors like Mobile Zone, United Mobile and Advance were the places where customers could go for a handsets repair. According to few of the retailers, when Nokia opened its customer care center last year at Siddique Trade Center Lahore, all the technicians hired in their libratory belonged to various mobile phone shops at Hafeez Center. Even today, a large customer base prefer to get their handsets repaired from Hafeez Center and Hall Road as the level of satisfaction is more in a personalized dealing.
Though the grey trade has increased the market share of Nokia which stands at more than 75% unofficially but this share has nothing to do with the authorized partner of the company as official imports are negligible. This has created an alarming situation for the Nokia management, both national and international. The company has found it necessary to stop relying upon its partners and come forward with all its might. During the last one month Nokia sales team has conducted number of market surveys to measure the depth of illegal network. Based upon these surveys they have started play with the price and inject very small number of handsets of various models. Company plans to keep on reducing the price to a level where grey importers will find it difficult to breath. Surprisingly, this is not bringing the success as Nokia can not afford to use this technique on volumes, therefore, reduction in a very small lot gets digested in the market easily and the game goes on.
During the last 30 days, Nokia has dropped prices to the extent of 10 to 15% on various models.
Interesting. Does any one here knows where they are selling the discounted handsets?