Feeds

GSM Association promotes cheapo phones for developing world

$30 a pop is the aim of the game

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Seven Steps to Software Security

The GSM Association is extending its effort to get low-priced mobile phones into the hands of people in developing countries.

The industry group, comprising operators, phone makers and developers, is moving into the second phase of its Ultra-Low Cost Handset initiative, which aims to get handsets costing less than $30 onto the market in poorer nations.

Although 80 per cent of the world's population has mobile phone coverage, today's 1.3 billion GSM users represent only 25 per cent of the potential, the GSM Association (GSMA) notes.

Phase 2 includes an "Invitation to Strategic Partnership" issued to handset manufacturers.

Once phone makers are selected for the initiative - a process which should be completed in the autumn - the GSMA will see to it that the ultra-low cost phones will hit the market in the first quarter of 2006. The group is aiming to see six million handsets sold under the programme within the first six months.

"The next phase of our initiative aims to drive even greater affordability, through sustainable products, at even lower cost than the first phase of the programme," said Craig Ehrlich, chairman of the GSMA. "At the right entry level we believe there is the potential for over a hundred million new connections per year."

Several operators are already expected to sign up to the second phase of the initiative, including six Indian operators, three in Bangladesh and two Pakistan operators. Players in Thailand, the Philippines, South Africa, Rwanda, Uganda, Swaziland, Cameroon, Nigeria, Algeria, DRC, Egypt, Iraq, Tunisia, Russia, the Ukraine, Lesotho, Mozambique and Tanzania are also expected to jump on board.

"Operating in developing markets means that we are dealing with the challenges on a day-to-day basis," said Erik Aas, CEO of Telenor-owned GrameenPhone in Bangladesh and a manager of the initiative. "We must ensure that the realities of the issues faced by developing countries are addressed. This programme seizes the initiative and pushes the potential - we are making the market happen."

The Ultra-Low Cost Initiative kicked off at the start of the year, with a trial which saw phone maker Motorola agree to supply low-cost handsets to phone makers in developing markets -- a tender which enabled Motorola to make a small profit. Phase one of the project also aims to see 6 million units make it into the hands of users and the GSMAexpects to hit its targets.

"The price of the handset is only one hurdle," said GSMA CEO Rob Conway. "We are also pushing hard for further positive changes that can be effected by governments, such as more flexible regulatory decisions and a more favourable approach to taxation. In addition, we are encouraging innovative payment mechanisms that could further positively reduce the barriers to ownership."

GSM Association press release is here

© ENN

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

More from The Register

next story
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
GoTenna: How does this 'magic' work?
An ideal product if you believe the Earth is flat
Telstra to KILL 2G network by end of 2016
GSM now stands for Grave-Seeking-Mobile network
Seeking LTE expert to insert small cells into BT customers' places
Is this the first step to a FON-a-like 4G network?
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
BlackBerry: Toss the server, mate... BES is in the CLOUD now
BlackBerry Enterprise Services takes aim at SMEs - but there's a catch
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.