Motorola wins second emerging market tender

As suppliers look to gain ground in low-price high-volume emerging markets, Motorola wins its second exclusive deal with the GSM Association.

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By  Alex Ritman Published  October 2, 2005

Motorola has been appointed sole supplier for the GSM Association’s (GSMA) Emerging Market Handset (EMH) programme, winning the second tender just eight months after it won the first. The manufacturer will supply two handsets, one exclusive to the programme, with costs dipping below US$30. The EMH programme was established by the GSMA to “connect the unconnected”, providing mobile telecommunications to people across Africa, India, Pakistan, South East Asia and the Middle East, who represent around a third of the world’s population and speak 30 languages. Working with manufacturers, the aim of the programme is to supply cheap handsets, with the aim of developing a sub-US$40 unit. “We already have a sub-$40 handset with the C115,” says Mohammed Badran, Motorola’s marketing director for MENA & Turkey. He confirms that other suppliers have developed similar priced models as well. GSMA partner and Egypt-based operator Orascom Telecom will distribute Motorola handsets in the Middle East region, and in Africa will receive the support of South Africa-based MTN Group and Vodacom. As many as six million handset orders are reported to have been promised by 10 operators across the whole of the EMH coverage region, including Globe in the Philippines and Bharti and IDEA in India. Motorola won the first tender to supply entry-level handsets for emerging markets in February 2005. Each supply period lasts for six months, according to Badran, with the second EMH programme runs from January 1 2005. While he acknowledges that a sub-US$30 handset might not prove so popular in the developed telecommunications and high-income markets of Kuwait and the UAE, he thinks countries across North Africa, along with Lebanon and Syria would benefit from the agreement. Coinciding with the GSMA agreement, Motorola has launched a range of the new handsets that are expected to appeal to subscribers in emerging handsets, the Motorola C118, C139, C168, C257 and the C261. Common features across the handsets include long battery life, which Badran said had been developed especially for regions where access to electricity wasn’t so easily accessible. The C139 and C168 also come with Motorola’s extra bright lantern feature, the C168 coming with a built in FM radio as well.

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