United Arab Emirates-based mobile operator Etisalat, in partnership with Jumbo Electronics, is offering the recently launched dual-screen YotaPhone with several of its prepaid and postpaid packages. The device costs AED 2,199.00 (US $598.69) upfront with a monthly-prepaid package of 1 GB of data, which costs AED 99.00 (US $26.95). Postpaid users will receive the device at no charge with Etisalat’s Plan 1 (1 GB of data and 100 Flexi-minutes, which include local, international and inbound roaming minutes) and Plan 2 (10 GB of data and 300 Flexi-minutes), which cost AED 250.00 (US $68.06) and AED 400.00 (US $108.90), respectively per month on 18-month contract options. The YotaPhone, developed by Russian manufacturer Yota Devices, has an LCD display screen on the front side and an e-Ink screen (electronic paper display) on the back. This second generation of the phone, which was released in February—just a few months after the phone’s first-generation debut—is Android-based with both a 5-inch display and a 4.7-inch qHD e-Ink touchscreen. The phone also features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, 2 GB of RAM, 32 GB of storage and an 8-megapixel camera. When just using the e-Ink screen, the phone’s battery will last for over 50 hours.
At a rate of 73.8 percent in 2013, the United Arab Emirates has one of the highest smartphone penetrations in the world, and Etisalat recognizes that its country’s users have a high level of interest in innovative devices such as the YotaPhone. “At Etisalat, we consciously team up with innovators to bring exclusive opportunities to our customers to own new types of handsets ahead of others in the market,” said Khaled El Khouly, the operator’s chief marketing officer. Etisalat is banking on tech enthusiasts and users interested in the latest device trends embracing the YotaPhone, even though its specifications are lower than those of the latest premium offerings from other device manufacturers, including Samsung. Etisalat has priced YotaPhone postpaid and prepaid bundles to be competitive with the bundles that it offers with the Samsung Galaxy S5.
Yota Devices CEO Vladislav Martynov reinforces this concept by saying that the value users find in the YotaPhone’s e-Ink screen will more than outweigh the phone being equipped with processors and cameras that are high level but not the most powerful available. As the company plans for the much larger global launch of the YotaPhone 2 at the end of 2014 or in early 2015, it remains to be seen if the phone’s battery saving-feature and the easier reading experience that it provides—especially in bright sunlight—will drive mass-market sales of the device or if users will wait for some of the giants in the industry to offer similar products.
The above item appeared in a recent issue of The Tarifica Alert, a weekly resource that analyzes noteworthy developments in the telecoms industry from around the world. To access all of the latest articles and issues: http://www.tarifica.com/TarificaAlert.aspx