Warning: Ultra low-cost smartphones are coming

Posted on December 10, 2011  /  2 Comments

Chinese chipmaker Spreadtrum Communications has introduced two low-cost Android smartphone platforms based on a low power, cost efficient architecture that lower total phone cost between $40 and $50. It means: Smartphones will be initially sold at bellow $100 retail prices. And the prices will nosedive, as it has happened with feature phones. It will be undoubtedly the consumers’ boon.

But exploding consumption of data will choke the mobile networks. Smartphones consume 25-times more data than feature-phones. Therefore, the operators will have to proportionately invest in capacity expansion. They will have to be more innovative in safeguarding the balance sheet.

Liberalized regulatory regime has never been so critical to the industry’s survival. Sharing each other’s end-to-end infrastructure should include the sharing of spectrum. Granting absolute freedom of using any technology in existing spectrum is no longer an option.

New pool of spectrum is to be made available simultaneously. Open access to domestic and international transmission networks has become a medical emergency. Regulatory predictability is essential to ensure smooth entry and exit to and from the market.

Smartphone is a dumb device in a market that is regulated under the principles of 20th century.


  1. The challenge was for the baseband processor. Now, it seems like they have come up with 1.8V for core!

  2. I bought one similar Android Chinese phone, for testing purposes, for about $100, but it’s very slow comparing to HTC analog.