TECH
16/11/2011 13:43 GMT | Updated 16/01/2012 05:12 GMT

Orange Launch Low-Cost Smart Phones For Europe, Africa

A basic phone that send texts, makes calls and connects to friends and family through social media. Isn't that all anyone really needs in a phone?

Orange thinks so, and have launched three new low-cost, low-spec phones for African and emerging European countries.

"It's our ambition that everyone should be able to access the internet," Patrick Remy, Vice President Devices at Orange, told Huffington Post. "We want to democratise the mobile internet, and put it in the hands of everyone."

The phones will be priced at 9 euro per month for the 908, 60 euro outright for the 813 and 40 euro for the 585 (see photos below).

The devices will be available in Armenia, Botswana, Cameroon, France, Ivory Coast, Mali, Morocco, Mauritius, Moldova, Niger, Poland, Reunion, Romania, Senegal, Spain, Tunisia and Uganda.

Each emerging market was surveyed and the majority of customers specifically said Facebook was a minimum requirement in a smart phone.

"We asked them what they want in a phone, and everywhere, the answer was Facebook. it was for them very important to be connected to family and community. No other social network was as popular in the responses," said Remy.

Romanian customers will however get Twitter free on their tariff.

Romania and Tunisia were the two countries most enthusiastic about the low-cost phones. Tunisia's enthusiasm for social media and smart phones is perhaps not so surprising, following their January uprising that is widely-considered the first Twitter revolution.

Orange's move meets a ready demand. 50% of Asian and African mobile internet users do not use the internet on a PC, according to One Device Research.

Alistair Hill, Managing Director at One Device Research, said in a statement: "In emerging countries fixed-line internet is being completely bypassed by mobile users and is an exciting time for content owners and brands to interact with their customers."

One reason could be younger populations, or unreliable landline networks. In Nigeria, more than 70% of phone users are under 25, and according to One Device, represent the emerging middle class in developing countries.