Vodafone Unveils the $15 Phone

At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Vodafone unveiled the world's lowest-cost mobile phone-- a handset that costs less than $15.  The Vodafone 150 will be capable of voice and SMS services, with five hours of talk-time, and room for 100 contacts. More importantly, by virtue of its SMS service, it supports the mobile payment systems that are spreading around developing world, as well as the many mHealth initiatives that are taking root across Africa and elsewhere.

It will launch in India, Turkey, Eastern Europe and a bevy of African countries. But don't take my word for it, here's Vodafone's charming Patrick Chomet:

As mobile ownership climbs toward five billion this year, the pool of potential new subscribers will continue to shrink, and it will become increasingly important-- for purely business reasons-- for mobile companies to market to low-income people around the world.  Hats off to Vodafone for living, as always, on the bleeding edge of mobile development.

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