Vodafone yesterday announced the launch of two ultra low cost handsets targeted at consumers in the emerging markets of Africa and Asia. According to the Vodafone press release, the handsets (Vodafone 150 and Vodafone 250) will launch in the coming weeks in India and across Africa.
The Vodafone 150 will retail unsubsidised at below US $15 and the Vodafone 250, US $20, depending on the local market.
The handsets will be sold in African countries where Vodafone already has some kind of presence, directly or through majority stakes held in the majority-owned Vodacom Group. These include; the Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya and Ghana.
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The handsets will no doubt find their way into Zimbabwe, and it will be interesting to see how they do on the local market where Nokia has traditionally been known to understand the needs of developing markets better. The Nokia 1200 series for example has been hugely popular here. Priced at US $27, this basic Nokia spots a handy flash light – quite a necessity around here with power outages literary an everyday occurrence.
Lately though, G-Tide (an Asian brand) has taken a sizeable bite off Nokia’s market share with the cheap feature packed smart-ish phones. Starting from about US $25 G-Tides are famous for their dual sim capacity, a very loud (and sometimes downright annoying) speaker, camera, GPRS, TV and a few other bells and whistles. Worth saying here that durability hasn’t really been a strong point for the G-Tide brand.