Vodafone has unveiled its first branded ultra-low cost consumer handsets, the Vodafone 125 and Vodafone 225, aimed at providing millions of people in emerging and developing markets the opportunity to access to the benefits of mobile technology for the very first time.
The Vodafone 125 and Vodafone 225 are part of Vodafone's ongoing commitment to expand access to mobile in emerging markets, where mobile technology and networks are often the only viable and cost effective telecoms service. The handsets are therefore key to offering a range of services, particularly in rural areas where mobile penetration is often at its lowest.
In markets such as India or Tanzania the cost of purchasing a mobile handset can be one of the key barriers to accessing mobile services. In countries such as Kenya and Egypt, where Vodafone has introduced mobile financial remittance services, mobile technology has been shown to be able to provide secure and socially beneficial services beyond simple voice and data services to those who have not access to a bank account. The Vodafone 125 and Vodafone 225 handsets are intended to help drive mobile penetration and will provide access to services for people in emerging markets that are already commonplace in Western Europe. The handsets are likely to retail at around $25-$45 US Dollars (19 -35 euros) depending on the specific model and the local market conditions.
The Vodafone 125 and Vodafone 225 are the first handsets manufactured for Vodafone by China's ZTE Corporation, following a global handset procurement agreement signed between the two companies in December 2006. The handsets are almost identical in functionality however the Vodafone 125 has a black and white screen and the Vodafone 225 has a colour screen. Features, design and functionality were specified by Vodafone.
"The Vodafone 125 and Vodafone 225 are the first of a range of ultra-low cost handsets which will be manufactured exclusively for Vodafone and its affiliates by ZTE Corporation, "said Jens Schulte-Bockum, Vodafone's Global Director of Terminals." We are delighted that they represent everything that customers have come to expect from Vodafone - high quality and exceptional value for money. We believe that the Vodafone 125 and Vodafone 225 will help enfranchise millions more people across the world, giving them good quality, attractive handsets, with popular features and functionality, at a reasonable price"
"Our work with Vodafone represents a big breakthrough in the market and has given ZTE an opportunity to demonstrate its capabilities in product design, production and management", said He Shiyou, General Manager of ZTE's Handset Division and Senior Vice President of ZTE.
Vodafone Egypt, Vodafone Romania and Vodacom (South Africa) will be the first countries to launch the Vodafone 125 and 225 handsets.