3G for All; cellcos back low-cost UMTS phone project

17 Oct 2006

Twelve leading mobile operators, which between them serve more than 620 million users on six continents, are backing the GSM Association’s ‘3G for All’ campaign, designed to bring affordable 3G services to the masses. The GSMA, the world trade association for mobile network operators, is calling upon handset vendors to submit plans for developing new UMTS handsets costing much less than even the lowest priced entry level devices available today. The association says it is looking for handsets that can support advanced services such as web browsing, mobile TV and IM, proposals for which will be passed to a group of twelve operators for evaluation.

The cellcos backing the plan are: Cingular Wireless, Globe Telecom, Hutchison 3G, KTF, MTN, Orange, Smart, Telecom Italia, Telefónica, Telenor, T-Mobile and Vodafone. The Association is hopeful that the backing of twelve industry leaders will ensure that the winning handset vendor will be able to deliver the economies of scale in manufacturing, logistics and marketing necessary to make 3G phones much more affordable. However once the GSMA has selected a supplier the resulting ‘3G for All’ handset will be made available to all GSMA associate companies.