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Mobile internet drives ULC phones' success

Posted: 23 May 2008     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:ultra-low cost  mobile internet  GSM  wireless 

The ultra-low cost (ULC) market offers a huge potential as mobile phone manufacturers target developing and emerging countries.

Schierstädt: Mobile internet will be huge, being the best, most affordable medium for on-line communication in emerging economies.

Eight crore new wireless subscribers are expected in China every year until 2012. India, with a user-base of 27.5 crore, has one of the lowest teledensities in the world at less than 25 per cent. The GSM Association (GSMA) has predicted that by 2010, tens of crore of ULC phones will be shipped to almost two-thirds of new mobile phone users in the developing world.

Low-cost mobiles and their users
The low-cost sector has been driven by the chip suppliers' strategy of integrating base band, power management unit, RF transceiver and FM radio. This strategy has produced low-priced mobile phones with complete multimedia features. In the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) markets, these ULC phones are targeted for low-income users and those who don't need all functions of high-end mobile phones.

Whether for voice calls, text messaging, file sharing or internet browsing, low-cost phones open up huge potential for application diversity and utilisation in developing markets. Edge devices have improved usability for web-based applications such as location and navigation, music downloading and social networking. Java phones offer the possibility of providing free content as a means of customer attraction. All this happens as chip suppliers lower component costs and handset makers reduce software and specifications retaining only the basic functions to produce cost-attractive phones.

Mobile internet
Mobile internet applications, from among various mobile phones' features, are proving to be highly appealing to consumers. Although used in both emerging and developed markets, it brings the most benefit to the ULC segment given that it do not have fixed internet structures in place. In such a case, mobile internet is capable of bringing various types of information and service that no other technology can provide.

Certainly, the need for mobile internet establishes a promising future ahead of it. The success story of GSM can be taken as an example to highlight the potential of mobile internet evolution. With 250 crore GSM users today, mobile phones have shown their popularity and importance to the market. The widespread adoption of internet will be huge given that it is perhaps the best available medium for affordable on-line communication in emerging economies.

The future of mobile internet is seen to lie in the kind of user experience it can offer. Long-term evolution (LTE) is what people are talking about in terms of 4G phones and, although the technology is fast progressing, this development is still some years away.

Nonetheless, technology advancement and business opportunities are rising to make mobile internet a success.

-Christoph von Schierstädt
Infineon Technologies AG

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