Market needs sub-USD50 smartphones
TELECOMS| Feb. 29, 2012, 10:13 a.m.
The CEOs of Bharti Airtel, VimpelCom and Telefónica Latin America have called for the industry to drive down the cost of smartphones to trigger the greater use of mobile data.
Speaking at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Sunil Mittal, chairman and MD of Bharti Airtel, said that the cost of smartphones must start to fall and come much closer to the price of feature phones seen today in India.
“The difficulty we have moving forward to the next business model is the lack of a cheap smartphone,” said Mittal. “A USD50 device would dramatically alter the landscape.” He added that the penetration of smartphones was only around 5% in India today, and much less in Africa.
Jo Lunder, CEO of VimpelCom, echoed this call, adding that ‘small screen’ devices would dominate how residents in emerging markets would access the Internet. “Mobile data will replace voice as the main revenue earner,” said the CEO. “We’ve seen smartphones drive up ARPUs by at least 10%.”
The VimpelCom CEO added that smartphone penetration in Russia had reached 10%, and that younger people were especially keen to access the Internet via a mobile device.
The market conditions are slightly different in Latin America, said the chairman and CEO of Telefónica’sLatin America business, Santiago Fernández Valbuena. “Smartphone penetration is growing fast, and we expect mobile broadband to contribute around a third of all data traffic by 2013. But to continue with this growth we also need affordable smartphones.”
Mittal upped the stakes by calling for the GSMA to support a campaign for a USD50 smartphone. “I hope when I return to the Mobile World Congress next year such a device will exist.”
MORE TELECOMS NEWS
TNM courts trouble with investment prospects in ISPTNM, one of Malawi's two mobile telecommunication services providers, has courted trouble with its announcement of plans to invest in the provision of ‘generic’ Internet Service Provider (ISP) operations. Read More
Tigo deploys overhead fibre in GhanaTigo Ghana has embarked on an overhead fibre project in some parts of the country in a bid to reduce damage to its cables. Read More
Bharti Airtel appoints Dr. Titus Naikuni as Chairman, Airtel KenyaBharti Airtel has announced the appointment of Dr. Titus Naikuni as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Airtel Kenya. Read More
NCC descends on Lagos firmThe Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has descended on Owntel Communications for allegedly offering telecommunications services for which it was not licensed. Read More
BTCL wraps up nationwide employee road showsAs part of the overarching awareness activities ahead of the much-anticipated Initial Public Offering (IPO) of Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited (BTCL), the company has successfully completed a nationwide employee road show. Read More
Gabon Telecom striking employees threaten disruptionGabon Telecom employees who have been on strike since last week over pay increases, bonuses and housing allowances, are now threatening to disrupt the company operations. Read More
How service quality can improve: NCCNigeria’s NCC says quality of service problems are caused by too much traffic on networks, and operators have been urged to keep expanding their capacity. Read More
Mobile subscriptions in Africa near billion markMobile subscriptions in Africa passed 880 million in Q3 of 2014 with a 77 percent mobile penetration, says Ericsson’s latest Mobility Report. Read More
Apple commends Glo on iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus launchThe creative management of the launch of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in Nigeria by Globacom has earned commendation from Apple, manufacturer of high end smartphones. Read More
Africell DRC’s free calls delight users despite lack of interconnectionDespite its lack of interconnection, Africell’s low rates make it a popular choice for DRC subscribers. Read More
FEATURED STORYGSMA: half a billion mobile subscribers in SSA by 2020
The number of unique mobile subscribers in Sub-Saharan Africa will pass the half billion mark in 2020, says a new GSMA report.
BEST READ NEWS
IN DEPTHAfrica lags on digital migration
Only three African countries have so far completed the digital migration process, and serious issues are hampering the migration in other nations.
COMPANY NEWSVMware Study: Businesses can Take Three Weeks to get Employees Mobile-Ready
EMEA businesses say concerns over trust, ownership and delivery capability may hold back taking advantage of the mobile cloud-era.