Making affordable communication devices for the BOP is not a high school project. It requires strong backing from every stakeholder of the industry. GSMA’s Emerging Market Handsets (EMH) was intended to make the mobile handsets at or below $30 level. Motorola won the GSMA’s deal. My study on Stolen Handsets has captured the semiconductor industry’s involvement in scaling down the handset prices.
Our world is still overwhelmingly populated by feature phones, but it won’t be long before smartphones take over (only question is when). Just yesterday we were discussing how GPS enabled smartphones, if given to government officials or even private sector people, can overcome the problem of them actually going to the places they’re supposed to go to (the example was the agriculture extension officer who does not go to the actual place where the plants are, but gives instructions from the office or the road). So here’s an update on the smartphone wars: The competition is only going to grow more heated. Android doesn’t just use different carriers, different manufacturers, and different software than the iPhone; it represents a different vision for the entire mobile industry. Apple exerts complete control over the iPhone.
Everyone has got an opinion on Google’s takeover of Motorola Mobility. But according to a report, it has the blessings of Martin Cooper, the man who invented the mobile phone. We had one post on him, but given all the effort we devote to mobile phones, that surely is not enough. One link led to another and then to a very nice piece that not only tells about Martin Cooper, but also locates the equipment that made the first mobile call possible.
You can find directions on mobile phones, but I guess this makes it smoother. For it to work in countries like ours we need more better mapping. . . .
Global Telecoms Business, a journal for communications service providers around the world, has named Tata Communications (formerly VSNL) CEO N Srinath has been as one of the 10 most influential telecom personnel. Among the top 100 telecom personnel named by the magazine, N Srinath has been positioned at number 8. He has been credited for transforming Tata Communications in an international company and for the acquisition of networks like Teleglobe and Tyco Global Networks. The list tops with Google Chairman and CEO Eric Schmidt, and Apple CEO Steve Jobs at number two. Other Indians in the list are Bharti Enterprises Chairman and Group CEO Sunil Bharti Mittal (at number 35), Bharti Airtel CEO and Joint MD Manoj Kohli (number 39) and CEO of Motorola’s mobile services division Sanjay Jha (number 41).
Motorola recently announced an investment in VirtualLogix, a company that lets multiple operating systems run on the same piece of hardware. This means you could have a single phone in your pocket that runs Windows Mobile, the BlackBerry OS, and Google’s Android OS. VirtualLogix is a provider of real-time virtualization. Its technology enables the mobility of applications from the desktop to devices, improves quality of service and security in an open mobile world, and will enable a new generation of dynamic individual user experiences. Motorola and others believe in the technology and decided it was worth investing in.
The days of SMS are numbered now that mobile email access is becoming a commodity, research firm Gartner says. Long the preserve of businessmen in power suits, mobile email is about to hit the masses with one in five email users accessing their accounts wirelessly by 2010, according to Gartner. Monica Blasso, the firm’s research vice-president, said mobile email had moved beyond the BlackBerry and was increasingly a feature of even low-cost mobile phones, driving consumer adoption. “By 2012, wireless email products will be fully inter-operable, commoditised and have standard features,” she said. “They will be shipping in larger volumes at greatly reduced prices.
Motorola has been ranked at the top of the latest Vendor Matrix released by ABI Research. Nokia claimed the second spot, while Samsung and LG were ranked equally in third place in the company’s most recent evaluation of ultra low-cost handset vendors worldwide. ABI defines ultra low-cost handset that sells below US$50 in the retail outlets. Read more.
The Business Standard (Nokia focuses on rural markets) Sapna Agarwal / Pune July 16, 2007The rural markets account for around 5 per cent of the national GSM (Global System for Mobile Communication) handset sales. The figure is expected to rise to 25-30 per cent, adding around 100 million new cellular subscribers by 2009, according to a recent study by LIRNEasia and AC Nielson.
A British climber has set a world record by making a mobile phone call from the top of Mount Everest.In the early hours of 21 May, Rod Baber made two calls from the mountain’s north ridge. In the first call Mr Baber described the view, how cold it was and what he wanted to do when back at base camp; he then rang his wife and children. The calls were made possible when China set up a mobile base station with a line of sight to the north ridge. Mr Baber set off from the UK for the Himalayas on 30 March and since mid-April has been getting used to living at high altitude.
Another story that reinforces our emphasis on the emerging Asia-Pacific and the Bottom of the Pyramid: LANKA BUSINESS ONLINE – LBO Making affordable phones and targeting consumers with smaller budgets have now become priorities for the largest companies in the sector who were all present at this week’s 3GSM trade show in Barcelona. “There are between 2.5 and 2.8 billion people who have a mobile phone: the next billion will come from the high-growth market,” said David Taylor, strategy director for Motorola. The areas representing the most opportunity are Asia, Africa and the Middle East, he said.
Now Motorola is said to be doing badly because the Razr ceased to be fashionable after I bought one! But seriously, if people are upgrading phones in less than 24 months on average, the second-hand market must be huge. Is this the answer to solving the affordability barrier at the Bottom of the Pyramid? Cellphone Envy Lays Motorola Low – New York Times Motorola’s fortunes have plunged along with the price of its Razr. Its profits have collapsed, and it announced plans last month to lay off 3,500 workers.
LBO reports of the release of a low-budget handset for the Sri Lankan market by Motorola, the MotoFone F3. Some of the features include two week stand-by time, high quality speaker, voice prompts, etc. Motorola even hopes to bring localised phones with Sinhalese script into the market soon. It hopes that the MotoFone F3, available for as little as LKR5,000 (approx. USD46) will boost its share in the local handset market with the new low cost handset.
Rohan Samarajiva chaired the Universal, Ubiquitous, Equitable and Affordable session at the ITU World 2006 that raised some fundamental questions about Universal Service Obligation (USO) programs around the world. Rohan introduced the topic [PDF] drawing from LIRNEasia‘s recent Shoestrings II study on telephone use at the “bottom of the pyramid.” The first Keynote speaker, Zhengmao Li, VP China Unicom, described the efforts of the Chinese govt and his company in building a harmonious digital society. Thanks to the govt’s policy to provide access to ICTs on an equitable and affordable basis, more than 97 percent of administrative villages in China have a phone. The second Keynote speaker, Tom Philips, Chief Regulatory Officer at the GSM Association forcefully argued that USO programs in most parts of the world have not resulted in improved access but have rather harmed the objective of connecting those who currently do not have access.
Later this year, T-Mobile plans to test a service that will allow its subscribers to switch seamlessly between connections to cellular towers and Wi-Fi hotspots, including those in homes and the more than 7,000 it controls in Starbucks outlets, airports and other locations, according to analysts with knowledge of the plans. The company hopes that moving mobile phone traffic off its network will allow it to offer cheaper service and steal customers from cell competitors and landline phone companies like AT&T. “T-Mobile is interested in the replacement or displacement of landline minutes,” said Mark Bolger, director of marketing for T-Mobile. Wi-Fi calling “is one of the technologies that will help us deliver on that promise.” Major phone manufacturers including Nokia, Samsung and Motorola are offering or plan to introduce phones designed for use on both traditional cell and Wi-Fi networks.
http://www.cellular-news.com/story/17101_print.php The GSM Association recently announced that its Emerging Markets Handset program is exceeding expectations: mobile operators in Bangladesh, China, India, and Russia have already purchased 12 million of its Ultra Low Cost Handsets (ULCH). But will the initiative reach the rest of the three billion unconnected peoples in emerging markets?