Nokia opts for device financing to drive sales in Kenya

HMD Global, the maker of Nokia-branded smartphones is targeting businesses for device financing to drive sales of its devices.

The Finnish mobile phone manufacturer said it will work with partners to boost its business in Kenya.

The firm’s he partners will sell the devices on credit to buyers at an interest rate.

The firm is already working with Kenya-based financial technology firm M-Kopa which provides financial solutions for solar lighting products, televisions, fridges and smartphones.

Gopher Ogembo, senior business manager, East Africa HMD Global, said Nokia seeks to grow its market share through device financing.

 “There are specific channels where we are seeing a lot of growth like device financing,” said Mr Ogembo.

“Beyond that is a lot of strong partnership happening with key retailers and operators such as Safaricom and Telkom, while shaping also our device to consumer demand.”

“One of the partners that the firm started with are M-Kopa, and Delight and we are engaging others.”

In Kenya, HMD Global is ranked number 2 in terms of smart and feature phones sales. This is according to data from mobile phone tracker, International Data Corporation (IDC) in the nine months to September 2021.

To obtain the phones under the new plan, customers pay a deposit as low as Sh2,000. The partners set interest rates, repayment period and total cost.

Nokia provides a software solution HMD Softlock, enabling the partner to lock the device until the subscriber makes the payment. This is aimed at ensuring buyers make payments in order to reduce defaults.

“Our partner can extend this financing offers to a much larger group of consumers because the software that makes the offer is hassle-free and you will have to do less traditional credit checks,” added HMD Global chief executive Florian Seiche.

“That has really helped a lot to drive this fast adoption and grow the business momentum. We are seeing a lot of interest in the similar collaborations form other partners.”

This model of product purchase has gained prominence in the country as consumers seek to buy items with flexible means of paying them.

Others companies include such as Beba Sasa, Lipa pole pole by Safaricom in partnership with KCB and Lipalater.

HMD Global is made up of the mobile phone business that Nokia sold to Microsoft in 2014, then bought back in 2016.

HMD’s smartphones run Google’s Android One software.

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