Samsung launches entry-level Internet phones

NEW DELHI Thu Feb 14, 2013 9:37pm IST

A handout picture showing Samsung phones.

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NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Samsung Electronics, the world's top mobile handset maker, launched a new range of entry-level Internet-enabled phones on Thursday aimed at customers in emerging markets such as India.

The new REX series phones will be available in four variants priced between 4,280 rupees and 6,490 rupees, Samsung said in a statement. The dual-SIM phones have touch screens and some variants support wi-fi.

"This is designed to cater to a growth market, predominantly India," Asim Warsi, Vice President at Samsung's Indian business told reporters.

India is the world's second-biggest telecommunication market by customers but smartphones are just about 5 percent of the market. Just about a tenth of India's 1.2 billion people have access to Internet and analysts say for most of the remaining, their first experience of the Internet will be through low-priced smartphones.

Samsung, which will start selling the new phone in India next week, will launch the phone in other markets in Southeast Asia, China, Middle East, Africa and South America, Warsi said.

Rival Nokia expanded its line of low-end smartphones on Tuesday with the Asha 310, which comes with dual-SIM and wi-fi access, aiming to bolster its market share in developing markets.

Nokia leads the Indian handset market with a share of 26 percent last year, according to researcher Canalys. Samsung was No. 2 with a 22 percent share of overall handset sales, but dominated in the smartphone category with a 48 percent share.

(Reporting by Arnika Thakur)

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