Nokia, Facebook & Microsoft to Tap Emerging Markets with Cheap Mobile Phones, Internet Access

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By Judith Aparri | February 26, 2014 3:48 PM EST

Ushering the mobile world today are less expensive or midrange smartphones that could hit even the market of developing countries. True, these days one does not need to break the bank to purchase an iPhone. Not anymore as the internet provides long lists of the most popular and best budget smartphones.

At the ongoing world's biggest mobile show Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Microsoft discloses its plans to hit the emerging market of developing countries, providing low-cost phones and make internet-for-everyone possible. Targeting cheaper phones in collaboration with Qualcomm and with Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella, it could lead to the company's healthy global internet growth.

Global Internet

When the smartphone came over a decade ago, the mobile communications world experienced a revolution. Yves Maitre, Orange SA head of devices said that the next revolution could be brought about by the explosion of cheaper Internet-enabled handsets which are offered to developing markets. Orange SA is a French wireless carrier that expanded its markets to Poland, Kenya and Egypt.

Maitre said that the story "Internet-for-everyone" is written at the ongoing Mobile World Congress 2014. In fact, more companies unveil their new less-expensive smartphone models in the event. Announcing lower-end smartphones are other companies like the Mozilla Corp. which develops Firefox browser. It launches a $25 phone. Nokia comes up with its Nokia X Line of X, X+ and XL which all run on Android.

Zuckerberg's Vision

On a different note but similar goal, the young founder of social media Facebook Inc. Mark Zuckerberg, one of the keynote speakers of this year's Mobile Congress, presented his plan to give Internet access to billions of people all over the world through a nonprofit organization; and that having connected 1.2 billion people to Facebook is definitely a good start.

Facebook teamed up with phone manufacturers in August to connect those who are living without the Internet via free or low-cost Internet. They collaborated with Ericcson, Nokia and Samsung to launch Internet.org. Expanding access to Internet will be good for the world - to the whole online industry and opens up fresh markets which have not been penetrated in the past.

It is believed that those without internet make up about two thirds of the world population - looks like the untapped market is huge after all, and worth eyeing by smartphone makers.

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