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HMD Global is no longer just the company that makes Nokia phones

HMD Global is making a major play for a totally different market....
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Photo by JJ Ying

Many people know HMD Global as the company behind modern Nokia smartphones, if they know HMD at all. But in the last few years the firm has been quietly making headway in a whole new market: B2B services.

At MWC 2022, HMD launched a couple of Nokia handsets, but also a new division dedicated to driving growth in the B2B space with offerings spanning enterprise mobility management (EMM), IoT connectivity, device lock services and more.

Speaking to TechRadar Pro at the show, Andrej Sonkin, who heads up the services business unit, said the current portfolio is set to hit one million subscriptions later this year and the company has big plans for expansion.

“We see the enterprise sector as an interesting opportunity for HMD from a growth perspective,” he told us. “We’re here to develop our portfolio further, by increasing the size and strength of the services team; the level of ambition is high.”

HMD takes on B2B

HMD’s services portfolio is currently made up of three main products: Enable Pro, Connect Pro and the mysterious Softlock, which has been launched in stealth in only a few markets.

Announced in summer of 2021, Enable Pro helps businesses manage and monitor their fleet of Android devices. And Connect Pro allows companies to hook up their IoT endpoints (from smartphones to sensors and more) to the internet from pretty much any location worldwide, facilitating secure remote data collection.

Softlock, meanwhile, is still currently taking shape. The idea is to address the need in less affluent markets for a way to lock or wipe devices that have been sold on finance, if the customer repeatedly defaults on payments. This service is currently only compatible with Nokia phones.

Asked about the original motivation behind the shift into the B2B services market, Sonkin told us the company’s heritage and ongoing relationship with Nokia provided a solid foundation for the move.

“If you look at the device side, the Nokia brand has always been valued in enterprise because of the hardware quality. We talk about ‘love it, trust it, keep it’, a message that resonates equally well in enterprise as with regular consumers,” he said.

“We started our enterprise journey based on conversations with customers. This is exactly what they’ve been looking for: a pure Android approach and a trusted brand that takes privacy and security seriously – these elements resonate.”

During our conversation, Sonkin also emphasized the desire among companies to receive a variety of services from a single trusted partner. In this spirit, HMD will be looking to expand into additional areas within the B2B sector, with new offerings brewed up in its R&D center in Tampere, Finland.

Although he refused to be drawn into discussing specifics, Sonkin told us we can expect the expansion of HMD’s enterprise portfolio in the near future.

MWC (Mobile World Congress) is the world’s largest showcase for the mobile industry, stuffed full of the newest phones, tablets, wearables and more. TechRadar is reporting on the show all week. Visit our dedicated MWC 2022 hub for a round-up of the biggest announcements.

Also check out our lists of the best rugged smartphones around

Disclaimer: Our flights and accommodation for MWC 2022 were funded by Huawei, but the organization had no editorial control over the content of this article.





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