Emerging markets initiative ready for next step

The GSM Association (GSMA) is preparing to announce the next steps in its emerging markets handset initiative at 3GSM Asia next week. The association, which represents virtually all of the world’s GSM operators, is expected to announce the winner of the tender process to supply millions of low-cost handsets to a group of carriers in developing markets. This will build on the initial phase of the programme, which saw several operators commiting to buy 6m handsets from Motorola at 3GSM in February of this year.

As part of the agreement, Motorola agreed to supply the handsets at a sub-USD 40 pricepoint. The GSMA has also said that it is looking to encourage a USD 25 level in the long-term.

The GSMA stated recently that worldwide subscriber mobile numbers had surpassed 2 billion, of which 1.5 billion use GSM technology. The spike in growth has been driven by new customers in developing countries such as China, Russia, India and across the African and South American continents.

The association has carved a leadership role for itself in encouraging collaboration between operators and handset manufacturers to lower the price of GSM terminals for these markets. It is also lobbying at governmental level to highlight the impact of taxation and import policies on mobile telephony adoption – a study examining this question will be published at 3GSM Asia.

In other news today, Nokia expanded its portfolio of ’emerging markets’ handsets with the clamshell 2652 – although this will retail for around EUR 100, some way above the GSMA’s target price and is not directly related to the association’s initiative.

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