CNN writes what the industyr is doing to go after its next users:
Firms are now designing handsets and payment systems that work for those who would not normally be able to afford mobile services.
Telecommunications companies are realizing that $800 for the latest mobile phone handset is just too expensive for the average consumer — particularly for those in low income countries.
“With many markets in the developed world maturing, handset makers and service providers are looking for new ways to generate revenues,” David Almstrom from Trolltech told CNN.
“One way is to target the lower income subscriber. Today we have one billion subscribers and we need to get another billion subscribers.”
Handset makers are targeting these markets by offering mobile phones which come with only the most basic functions such as voice calls and text. In China, some of the phones are even simpler.
“It is a glorified cordless phone. We think this phone will do well in developing markets,” says Richard Lee of Huawei Technologies, a Chinese handset company.
Service providers have also come up with innovative ways to cater to the needs of the low-end consumer, using the text message as a virtual prepaid calling card.