Emerging market handset programme set to beat target

Mobile operators in developing countries have bought or ordered more than 12 million mobile phones from Motorola under the Emerging Market Handset programme run by the GSM Association (GSMA).

Through the programme leading operators in these markets buy ultra-low cost handsets from Motorola in more than 50 countries, making mobile telecommunications services available to many more millions of people. Any GSM operator in an emerging market can participate in the programme.

Motorola has seen strong demand for the two handsets in the second phase of the EMH programme, the C113 and the C113a, which went on sale at the beginning of 2006. Motorola Mobile Devices has calculated that together with the GSMA and its mobile operator partners, over 31,000 new consumers every day can now experience mobile connectivity.

To ensure as many users as possible benefit from the programme, the GSMA has extended its endorsement of Motorola as the Emerging Market Handset vendor for a further six months, representing the period from 1 July 2006 to the end of the year. However, the GSMA estimates that there are more than one billion people worldwide who still won't be able to afford a mobile phone for the foreseeable future. To help give these people access to telecommunications, the GSMA is funding projects designed to stimulate the rollout of "shared access" mobile solutions across the developing world.

One such scheme uses specialised software from South African company Sharedphone, which enables ultra-low cost handsets from Motorola to work like a mobile payphone. Local entrepreneurs can sell airtime on these phones to people wishing to make a call or send a text message. This innovative approach allows an entrepreneur to set up a payphone business for just the cost of a handset.

The shared access initiative is one of several projects being funded by the GSMA's Development Fund. For every handset sold under the Emerging Market Handset programme, Motorola and the mobile phone operators participating in the programme are together contributing US$0.5 to the GSMA's Development Fund. The GSMA's goal is to give 80% of the world's population access to mobile communications by 2010 even if they don't all own a handset.

* The Development Fund is being used to extend access to basic voice services, and also to explore how high-speed mobile networks, based on 3GSM technologies, can aid social and economic development. In many instances, 3GSM networks are the most economical way to make Internet access and other data communications widely available in the developing world.

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