LG Electronics has won the GSMA tender to provide a 3G phone for emerging markets, promising a device at 30% below current market prices.
The award gives the Korean vendor the inside track in selling the phone in at least 12 markets worldwide.
A group of 12 operators - among them 3, T-Mobile and Cingular - chose an LG multimedia phone in a competitive tender against 18 other proposals from eight handset-makers.
Handset leader Nokia was given a special commendation for its submission, GSMA chairman Craig Erhlich said. He said the tender was intended to make 3G handsets more affordable in developing markets, following in the wake of a similar initiative for entry-level 2G phones over the last two years.
"This is a catalyst," he told a press conference in Barcelona Monday. "We want all the vendors to come into the supply chain and bring the prices down."
LGE CEO Scott Ahn said the retail price of the phone would depend on the individual market as well as the volume of handsets the company would ship.
But he said the opportunity lay in the fact that just W-CDMA accounted for just 3% of mobile phone users in the world.
The LGE phone, the KU250, is 15 mm thick and supports video telephony and high-speed Internet on a W-CDMA platform. It will be commercially available to all 3G operators in the second quarter.