LIRNEasia’s thesis that most people will experience the Internet through mobile networks depends to an extent on cheap terminal devices. According to the Economist, Android is playing a role in bring low-cost producers into the smartphone segment. Prices are now on a downward spiral, says Ben Wood of CCS Insight, a research firm. Several other handset-makers are already offering cheap smart-phone-like devices. Android allows cut-price Chinese firms such as Huawei and ZTE to enter the smart-phone market, which they had previously stayed out of for lack of the necessary software.
China will issue third-generation mobile phone licenses as early as this month and expects companies to spend 200 billion yuan ($30 billion) on installing equipment, the industry minister said Friday. China has the world’s biggest population of mobile phone users and adoption of 3G — which has been long delayed — was eagerly anticipated by equipment suppliers, which are seeing demand elsewhere decline due to the global financial crisis. “The 3G licenses will be issued either later this year or early next year,” Li Yizhong, whose ministry regulates telecoms, said at a news conference. Third-generation mobile phone technology supports Web surfing, video downloads and other added services. Its adoption in China is expected to boost demand for mobile service and spur growth of new services.