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CDMA phones to get ultra cheap, too

Chris Ziegler

Anyone else notice that most of the fanfare surrounding the concept of the almost-free unsubsidized handset has been largely restricted to the GSM camp? Sure, we have occasional CDMA examples like Kyocera's K122 and K132 -- but with all due respect to Kyocera, cooler looking GSM goodies like the MOTOFONE have been generating just a bit more buzz. No worries, though; a handful of scrappy Korean startups are looking to correct the imbalance, committing to deliver $30 handsets utilizing CDMA2000 1x radios (no EV-DO, we're guessing) to India starting in December of this year with other Southeast Asian countries hopping on the bandwagon in '07. According to Rose Telecom, one of the startups involved in the initiative, the phones should take another dive to the $20 mark in 2008. We can almost sense American prepaid MVNOs expressing interest already.

Update: A resourceful reader has pointed out that Motorola's also offering a CDMA variant of the MOTOFONE, which clearly raises the bar for style in the CDMA emerging markets segment. The Korean folks still look to have a slight edge on pricing here -- but with Motorola having suggested that we'll be seeing $15 handsets by '08, they may not for long. [Thanks, Rich]

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