Nokia relaunches iconic 3310 model, but it may not be sold in Singapore

Nokia relaunches iconic 3310 model, but it may not be sold in Singapore
Display models of the relaunched Nokia 3310 at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. It is unlikely the Nokia 3310 will be sold in Singapore as all 2G networks in the country will close from April.
PHOTO: Reuters

Nostalgia ruled the roost for Finnish company Nokia at the Mobile World Congress on Sunday as the relaunch of its humble 3310 mobile phone from 2000 stood out in a sea of new smartphones armed with the latest technology.

But Singapore consumers who want to relive the nostalgia of a reliable, power-efficient "dumb phone" may be out of luck - the phone is unlikely to be sold in the country.

Another issue is that 2G services in Singapore will end in April, making the revamped Nokia 3310 incompatible with the Republic's mobile networks.

Still, those who want to get their hands on the old-school phone can try to buy it overseas.

The updated 3310 will sport classic Nokia features such as the popular "Snake" game and the brand's distinctive ringtone, said Mr Arto Nummela, head of Finnish start-up HMD Global, which licensed the rights to produce Nokia phones.

The original Nokia 3310 was launched in 2000 and sold nearly 120 million units worldwide before it was discontinued in 2005, making it one of the world's best-selling mobile phones.

Read also: Nokia relaunches iconic 3310 mobile model​

The relaunched 3310, which will cost €49 (S$73), comes complete with a number pad, a 2.4-inch colour screen and a battery which HMD claims will last for a month on standby mode.

It comes with 2.5G connectivity, which makes it incompatible with faster mobile networks such as 3G or 4G.

Unlike the original, it will support Web-browsing and comes with a 2-megapixel camera.

The phone's availability in selected markets will be made known at a later date, said a HMD spokesman.

"We will start rolling it out in the second quarter to markets where a 2.5G device is demanded by our customers and consumers," he added.

But it is very unlikely the Nokia 3310 will be sold in Singapore as all 2G networks in the country will close from April.

Singapore telco StarHub told The Straits Times that "all 2G-only phones will not support calls, SMS and data services from April", following the end of 2G services.

Also, Singapore's Infocomm Media Development Authority said last December that retailers and equipment suppliers will no longer be allowed to sell 2G-only mobile devices for use in the country from January this year.

This means that phones like the 2.5G Nokia 3310 cannot be sold here to consumers.

Consumers thinking of using the 3310 to surf the Internet on Wi-Fi networks in the absence of 2G will be out of luck too - the handset does not have Wi-Fi support.

"I don't see the 3310 coming to Singapore or other markets like Australia and Thailand that have already shut or are shutting down their 2G networks," said IDC Asia-Pacific research manager Kiranjeet Kaur.

"The 3310 would likely be made available in emerging markets with huge feature-phone demand such as India and many countries in Africa."

But the nostalgia factor and low price of the 3310 make it alluring for Nokia fans such as public relations consultant David Chieng, 37, who said it will make a "great conversation starter".

"It's riding on the nostalgia many have for the classic 3310. It's inexpensive, so I would consider buying it as a backup device, if not for the fact that 2G networks will be unusable soon," he said.

Read also: New Nokia 3310 will have a colour display, so 'Snake' will look super dope​

on SPH Brightcove

This article was first published on Feb 28, 2017.
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