BANGALORE: Nokia is targeting India for further expansion with the rollout of a plan that allows rural users to pay by instalments.

India is already the second-largest and fastest-growing telecommunications market in the world. Mobile handset users in India are expected to rise from 427m now to over 500m in 2010, with Nokia currently accounting for over half the market.

Under an initial pilot programme, Nokia sold handsets to a microfinance company which in turn sold them to women users in rural areas in the southern states of Andhra Pradesh and Kamatka. The company now plans to extend the scheme to 12 more states.

At the same time Nokia is joining forces with host of partners in India to deliver services through its Nokia Life Tools - a range of agriculture, general information and educational services targeted at rural consumers.

Nokia's partners include the Maharashtra State Agriculture Marketing Board, Reuters Market Light, Madison Research and Pearson along with a number of government agencies and NGOs.

Nokia president and CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasuvo says, "mutually beneficial relationships among industries and companies will be more important than ever.

"We believe that by sharing resources and ideas, by tapping into each other's expertise, we can accelerate our efforts to transform our products and services and take mobility to the next frontier."

Data sourced from CIOL News, Brand Republic Asia; additional content by WARC staff