AMSTERDAM: World number four mobile maker Sony Ericsson aggressively expanded its line-up of low-cost phones on 6 February, joining bigger rivals in the fight for customers in emerging markets.
The London-based joint venture between Japanese electronics maker Sony Corp. and Swedish telecoms equipment vendor Ericsson unveiled eight new phones, four of which would be at the low end of the price scale and four higher-priced models.
The company said it was launching two new Walkman music phones and two Cybershot digital camera phones as well as the four low-end phones.The low-cost phones, with colour screens and two of which have a basic digital camera, will be available in the second quarter of 2007.
Sony Ericsson is the fastest growing mobile phone vendor in the global top 5 as a result of its success of its Walkman and Cybershot phones. It said in a statement that it has sold 20 million Walkman phones to date and 4.5 million Cybershot phones since the recent introductions.
The company had a fourth quarter global market share of 8.7 %, up from 6.6 % in the year-ago period.While Sony Ericsson has focused mainly on the segment of higher value phones, its bigger rivals Nokia, Motorola and Samsung battled it out in emerging markets with low cost phones, pushing down the average price per phone and in the cases of Motorola and Samsung also resulting in lower profit margins.
Sony Ericsson, which is now the second-most profitable phone maker behind Nokia as a result of its focus on expensive, high-margin phones, has said it will no longer stay on the sidelines in this battle and that it wants to become the world’s third biggest mobile phone vendor.Nokia with its 35 % market share and superior profitability has showed that large scale creates an important competitive advantage.Sony Ericsson last week said it will start producing phones in India to cater to the needs of customers in that market.