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Intel plans to grow smartphone market share in MEA

Chip maker targets telecom operators with smartphone strategy

Intel plans to grow smartphone market share in MEA
Khalifa says Intel is working with regional telecom operators on smartphones, tablets and Ultrabooks.

In a move aimed at expanding its current minimal market share in the smartphone market, chip maker Intel, has introduced a new Atom processor platform designed to target the fast-growing market for low-end smartphones in emerging economies.

The initiative, which has already kicked-off with a few key regional telecoms operators on co-branded phones, has seen Intel partner with SafariCom in Kenya, where the Yolo branded handset has the new Atom processor.

Intel has said that it is also working with ZTE, Lenovo and other phone manufactures to bring Atom-based devices to MEA region.

Taha Khalifa, regional general manager, Middle East and North Africa (MENA) at Intel said: "We have been working closely with key telecom providers across the region not only on phones, but also on other Intel-based devices including tablets and Ultrabook. In almost every country we operate, there is a strong engagement with telecom operators to make sure that our devices are sold with connectivity. We can't disclose the names of operators we are engaging with on the phones at this stage given the confidentiality of the engagements."

Khalifa added that at this stage, such co-branded smartphone alliances, which are dependent on form factor reference design (FFRD), are only limited to a select few operators in the MEA region. He said the reason behind this is that Intel is starting to penetrate this market and wants to use a very scalable pattern to support operators worldwide. "We are engaging in a few markets with the strategy of co-branded smartphones primarily with operators with large subscriber base in countries where we expect to see huge growth in smartphone ownership," he said.

Khalifa said the company is upbeat about the strategy as it will help Intel to gain market share in this fast growing segment. "It will definitely establish brand reference to Intel and give the consumer first hand access to Intel-based smartphones which we believe offers the consumer cost, performance and power features," he said.

Khalifa added that the initiative will also help align Intel with a few operators to get direct consumer feedback on its products. "While working with the key telecom operators, Intel is also working with the key phone manufacturers. With a very strong roadmap of products coming into market in 2013, and 2014, we believe our best-in-class products will help us gain market share in the smartphone business.

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