Handsets further widen participation in mobile data services
Vodafone today announces the design and service refresh of three own-brand handsets, each of which plays a role in extending access to a range of mobile and data services in emerging markets, including money transfer, the mobile internet and a localised content offering. The handsets are due in market from Spring 2011.
- The Vodafone 252 is a refresh of last year’s successful ultra-low cost handset. With the same feature set of colour display and standard voice and text functions, the phone now comes with M-PESA preloaded, providing customers in relevant markets with a reliable and easy-to-use mobile payment experience.
- The Vodafone 351 is the most affordable mobile internet phone in Vodafone’s own-brand portfolio, and comes with pre-loaded Opera Mini to check mail and surf the internet, an FM radio and a camera, plus 2MB of onboard memory which can be supplemented via a Micro SD card.
- The Vodafone 455 is an entry-price, touchscreen phone with a contemporary design. Also running Opera Mini for internet browsing, the phone has a 2.4” colour screen, a 1.3MP camera, FM radio and a music player.
Patrick Chomet, Vodafone’s Group Director of Terminals said: “The Vodafone branded handset programme allows us to extend our services to places of real need. Across the world we are seeing significant changes in how people use their mobile phones to access the internet and other data services – but those changes are not evenly distributed - data penetration in India is at just 6% compared to 37% in Europe. By lowering the price and technology barriers to access, the handsets we’re announcing today will let many more customers in emerging markets participate in and benefit from next generation mobile services.”
The Opera Mini browser is one of the cornerstones of Vodafone’s data strategy for emerging markets and for pre-pay feature phones in Europe. It is able to run over lower capacity mobile networks, compressing data by around 90% to serve fast-loading and thereby affordable internet pages. The browser homepage typically has bookmarked websites such as news, sport and social networking sites as well as locally relevant applications such as job search. The Vodafone Opera Mini service has been rolled out across 20 markets, preloaded onto 32 different handsets and downloaded 9 million times.
Handsets like the Vodafone 252 are helping to build on the success of the award-winning M-PESA mobile payments service which was launched by Vodafone in 2007, and which now transfers over half a billion US$ per month. Simple, fast, affordable and secure the service is currently active in Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Afghanistan, Qatar and Fiji and will soon be available in India; 20 million customers across the world are registered to use their mobile phones to transfer money.
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