Wednesday, August 15, 2007

LG launches new, cheap, 3G handset

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

South Korea-based mobile phone manufacturer LG Mobile Communications Indonesia (LGMCI) launched Tuesday a new 3G mobile phone in Indonesia, which it says is the cheapest mobile phone in its class.

Vice president of LG Electronics Bo Hoo Choi said Tuesday that with its more affordable price, the new LG KU250 handset was expected to narrow the gap between 2G and 3G handsets.

"We are aiming at first-time buyers of 3G handsets. We want to expand the market by bringing the entry level down so that people can start using 3G phones right away. We help them move from 2G to 3G technology," Bo told The Jakarta Post.

"When we use a 3G phone, there are two kind of benefits. One is video transmission and the other one is data transmission. That is why we developed this model targeting the younger generation and business people," he added.

The LG KU250 handset is the winner of a tender called "3G for All" held by GSM Associations in Barcelona in February to provide a good quality 3G mobile phone at affordable price.

Among 19 models proposed by eight vendors for the tender, LG KU250 was chosen as the winner by a jury of 12 GSM operators. The eight criteria for selection were functionality, usability, logistics, market acceptance, price, service and support, strategic commitment and form.

The 12 GSM operators that selected the winning handset, were Cingular Wireless, Globe Telecom, Hutchison 3G, KTF, MTN, Orange, Smart, Telecom Italia, Telefonica, Telenor, T-Mobile and Vodafone. These operators are now introducing this model in their respective networks.

Bo was optimistic that LG would be able to sell 10 million new handsets worldwide a year, but he was reluctant to predict Indonesian sales.

The phone is equipped with GPRS facilities, 10MB shared memory and external micro SD card slot, bluetooth and USB as well as a 1.3MP camera and a VGA camera for video calling.

He claimed that the handset, which is now available at Rp 1.4 million (about US$160), is the cheapest in its class.

"The prices of most of 3G phones in the country are above Rp 2 million. Only some old products are bellow that level. So in terms of price and value, I don't think there is any competitor for us," said Andre Tanudjaja, sales and marketing general manager of LG Electronics Indonesia.

Andre said that by June the average demand for 3G handsets in the country had reached 13 percent of the total demand for mobile phones, far higher than 6 percent last year.

Indonesia's annual total mobile phone sales reaches around 15 million.

He said that the average was likely to increase to 15 to 17 percent by the end of the year and that LGMCI was aiming to secure a share of 10 to 15 percent of the 3G market in the country. (02)

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