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Motorola to flog cheap handsets for the poor

GSMA targets developing countries

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Motorola has been selected by the GSM Association (GSMA) to supply the handsets for its programme to provide mobile telephony to people in developing countries.

Motorola will commence delivery of these phones in the first quarter of 2006, as the second phase of the GSMA's Emerging Market Handset (EMH) programme gets underway. The stated aims of the programme are to advance the social and economic development of emerging markets through mobile communications. It includes an initiative to provide mobile phones that cost less than USD30 apiece onto the market in poorer nations.

Motorola will be offering a choice of phones from its C11x range, which is specifically designed to be durable, have extended battery life and large displays.

"In emerging markets, consumers and operators want mobiles that meet specific performance requirements while exceeding expectations for quality, reliability and design," said Ron Garriques, president of Motorola's mobile devices division. "I'm proud that the GSMA has once again chosen Motorola as its partner for this important opportunity to fuel economic development and growth."

Motorola also provided the handsets for the first phase of the programme, providing six million low-cost handsets at a small profit to itself.

The GSM Association (GSMA) is the global trade association representing more than 680 GSM mobile phone operators across 210 countries and more than 150 manufacturers and suppliers.

It estimates that despite 80 per cent of the world's population having wireless access, only 25 per cent are able to use it, with cost identified as the single biggest barrier to mobile communications usage in emerging markets.

The price of the handset is only one hurdle to mobile phone ownership and the GSMA is also lobbying for regulatory and taxation changes in target markets. Several operators are already expected to sign up to the second phase of the initiative, including six Indian operators, three in Bangladesh and two Pakistani telecoms.

Copyright © 2005, ENN

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