Friday, April 9, 2010

INTERVIEW - Nokia plans launch of music service in India

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HONG KONG (Reuters) - Nokia Corp said on Friday it is planning a launch soon for its music downloading service in India following a China launch, as it looks to emerging markets to breathe new life into the struggling service.

Nokia said earlier this week it would bring its Comes with Music downloading service to India after China, but declined to give a timetable.

The India launch would come "very soon", David Tang, vice-chairman of Nokia China, told Reuters on the sidelines of the Boao Forum in on the tropical Hainan island in southern China.

"This is a priority market for us in the future," he said, adding that Nokia planned to continue expanding geographic coverage for the service, currently available in 30 markets,

The world's top cell phone maker said on Thursday it would roll out Comes with Music in China, offering free music with its mobile phones as it seeks to compete with Apple Inc's popular iTunes.

With more than 700 million subscribers, China is the world's biggest mobile market by users. But rampant piracy in the country has kept most major music labels and movie makers from realising significant revenue there despite huge potential.

Nokia unveiled Comes with Music in late 2008, but it has lacked operator support and has gained little traction in developed markets since then.

Earlier this year Niklas Savander, head of Nokia services, told Reuters the offering would focus increasingly on emerging markets.

Separately, Tang said Nokia currently offered a lone product in China that worked on the country's homegrown third-generation (3G) mobile standard TD-SCDMA, but was working to expand.

The technology's teething problems, along with a lack of product offerings, have been major factors inhibiting the development of a national TD-SCDMA network by China's top mobile carrier China Mobile.

But Tang said more TD-SCDMA handset models were on the way from Nokia.

Nokia sold 72 million handsets in China last year, making it the company's biggest market by unit sales.

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