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EghtesadOnline: HMD Global Oy, a startup led by Finnish executives selling Nokia-branded phones, is reportedly interested in entering the Iranian market with a raft of new devices.

HMD purchased the rights to produce Nokia phones from Microsoft in 2016, following the buyout by the US firm of the mobile phone giant’s handset division. However, that deal flopped with Microsoft writing-off more than $6 billion in debt and culling further development of Windows phones.

According to local technology website, HMD is looking to re-enter the much-loved brand back in Iran in the next few months. The report does not state if the company will have a local distributor or will enter the market directly, according to anonymous tip to that site.

Nokia’s previous local distributor, Iratel, has made no comments following the Zoomit report, nor did HMD press respond to inquiries by the Financial Tribune for details on the proposed re-entry of the brand, Financial Tribune reported.

 Moving East

The unconfirmed HMD rumors, meanwhile, follow that of Nokia Oy,  signed agreements with a consortium of Iranian firms in September 2016 to re-enter the network transmission business.

Following that memorandum signed between the Finnish firm and local tech companies, the CEO of Shatel—Iran’s largest private-broadband Internet provider, Mohammad Hassan Shanehsaz-Zadeh who represented the consortium, and Rajeev Suri, the chief executive officer of Nokia signed the MoU for optimizing the use of LTE-TDD.

The Iranian consortium was created after a decision by leading Internet providers to form a workgroup valued at over 10 trillion rials (above $300 million) to take charge of data transmission projects for the next generation of communications in the country, ICTNA reported.

LTE or 4G is a standard for high-speed wireless communication for mobile phones and data terminals, which allows wireless Internet access at a much higher speed.

 Changing Landscape

However, HMD with the new range of Nokia phones is likely to find the market drastically changed in recent years. Nowadays, several Chinese firms like Huawei, ZTE and Xiaomi have all entered the market with their low-cost handsets.

Huawei in particular has now the largest share of new phones distributed in the country due to the low cost of their entry-level handsets.

Huawei’s most important plan in Iran is to cut out the middlemen and distribute its products on a large scale while lowering prices and easing distribution among retailers.

Local companies such as Yas and Microtel previously offered after sales services for Huawei devices.

Nokia HMD Iran phone market HMD Global Oy