Spice to launch mobile for $20 (Rs. 800)

Indian telecom company Spice Corp Ltd (SCL) has unveiled a no-frills mobile phone that will retail at about Rs 800 ($20) early April, the company’s chairman said.

“Though we have taken various measures to reduce the cost price for the end user, it will be a technologically advanced instrument,” claimed SCL Chairman BK Modi.

He said this product will prove that India is not only equipped to give the best of technology but even the cheapest at most competitive prices. Also, he didn’t rule out the possibility of prices of such phones going down further.

The new voice-only phone was exhibited at a global expo in Barcelona in Spain Monday and evoked tremendous interest among mobile service providers from around the world, Modi said.

The phone does not offer a screen but will provide excellent voice clarity. An audio programme would announce the digits that are dialled to prevent errors. A Braille version will also be simultaneously introduced to benefit visually challenged users.

“Spice got nearly 40 MSPs inquiring about it at the expo itself. We have tied up with one Indian MSP to provide the phone as a package deal.”

The service provider’s name will be announced along with the phone launch in April this year.

Designed in India by Spice Corp Ltd, the new phone is being manufactured in China in partnership with Spice’s Chinese partner.

Available in a range of attractive colours and compact and lightweight design, the phone will be compatible with all types of SIM cards currently available in the market and function on most connection types.

Within a year of launch, Modi was confident of selling between five to 10 million pieces. “Initially, we are targeting the entire Middle East, SAARC and ASEAN group of countries. Then we shall explore other markets.”

He said that presently there is only 20 percent mobile penetration in India. “The remaining population has never set eyes on a mobile phone.”

Worldwide, cheap mobile phones make up for nearly 20 percent of the total market. But more than half the world’s population has never used a phone, so the demand potential is immense, Modi said.

The $1-billion Bombay Stock Exchange-listed SCL is an upcoming telecom company currently operating in two telecom circles ? Karnataka and Punjab ? and has applied for licences in other circles.

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