Nokia says content key in boosting cell phone use

Nokia Research Center is seen in Helsinki, October 18, 2007. Nokia sees content for the wireless Internet as key to snapping up more mobile phone users. REUTERS/Antti Aimo-Koivisto/Lehtikuva

ESPOO, Finland (Reuters) - Nokia NOK1V.HE, the world's largest cell phone maker, sees content for the wireless Internet as key to snapping up more cell phone users, including in emerging markets, the head of its key unit said on Tuesday.

Kai Oistamo, who heads Nokia’s cell phone division, said the biggest barrier in emerging markets to people using the mobile Internet was lack of interest.

“We are looking as a company as to how to facilitate and participate in creating content that is actually relevant for the consumers in emerging markets,” Oistamo said in a speech at a telecoms forum at Helsinki University of Technology.

The target market will define what will globally be the next big thing in cell phones, Oistamo said, but added that location-based services combined with social networks would be one of them.

Nokia’s recent acquisitions have supported a content strategy as the company has made moves to transform itself from being a pure hardware company into becoming an online services company.

In July Nokia said it would acquire social networking and photo-sharing site Twango, as millions of users flock to similar sites like MySpace and Facebook. Nokia also recently launched Internet services portal Ovi.

And earlier this month Nokia launched an $8.1 billion offer for the U.S. digital map supplier Navteq NVT.N, which would be its largest ever acquisition.