Vodafone is to release two ultra low cost handsets for the emerging markets.
The Vodfone 150 and 250, which have been manufactured by TCL, will initally launch in India, Turkey and eight markets in Africa – The Deomocratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Mozambique, Qatar, South Africa and Tanzania.
To maximise the availability of the handsets across countries with sizeable and isolated rural populations, the launches will be supported by an extensive logistics infrastructure, reaching deep rural segments where mobile penetration remains typically low. Vodafone said it expects device availability to reach 60 per cent of the population.
Both phones offer voice and SMS services, as well as support for mobile payment services. Both phones are similar except the 250’s screen is a colour one, is slightly larger and has FM radio.
Vodafone group director of terminals Patrick Chomet said: “The cost of mobile handsets can be one of the most significant barriers for people accessing and benefiting from the growing number of socially valuable mobile services.
“The lives of poeple who use these phones – the Vodafone 150 and Vodafone 250 – will be changed and improved as they beome part of the mobile society. I am proud of the work we have done and will continue to do in this critical area of customer empowerment.”
The 150 and 250 will retail unsubsidised at below $15 USD (£9.58) and $20 USD respectively, depending on the local market.