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Nokia unveils cheapest 3G phone amid recession

2730 Classic will sell for just over $100 and will hit markets in the next few months

Still reeling from their poor first quarter earnings, Nokia has unveiled three new cellphones for the emerging market including its cheapest 3G phone till date.

The new 2730 Classic, which is expected to go on sale by the third quarter of the year, is competitively priced at EUR 80 ($108) and sports a traditional candybar design. While there might be other manufacturers offering more affordable 3G phones, this is the cheapest model available from a top-tier brand.

"The power of the internet is undeniable," said Alex Lambeek, VP at Nokia. "Whilst many people are still primarily using voice and text, the Internet does offer a whole new range of opportunities." According to Nokia’s research, nearly half of emerging market customers state they would rather connect to the internet over a mobile phone than a PC.

Nokia also unveiled two new fold models - 7020 and 2720 - which would sell for EUR 90 and EUR 55 respectively.

The company’s operating profit had plunged in the first quarter of the year to reach EUR 55 million, down a full 96% compared to the EUR 1.5 billion it raked in for the same quarter in 2008, but remains optimistic about the second half of the year.