I’ve written about low cost cell phones previously in my blog here and here. Motorola has been on the forefront of this despite some setbacks. Now other companies from Europe are joining the race. The low cost cell phone market segment is finally get more attention. Here are some news items from Wall Street Journal. Interestingly Sagem is the provider for both Vodafone and Sony Ericsson.

U.K.-based mobile-phone operator Vodafone Group PLC said it is extending its plans to sell Vodafone-branded handsets, striking a deal with Sagem, the mobile-phone-manufacturing unit of French company Safran SA. Sagem will make a low-cost “extraslim” GSM handset exclusively for Vodafone, which will be aimed at all markets, but particularly developing regions, such as India and Africa. Vodafone declined to give financial details.

Sony Ericsson will also enter the battle for low-end mobile phones with a licensing deal with Sagem, the mobile-phone unit of France’s Safran SA. The move is a departure for Sony Ericsson — a joint venture between Japan’s Sony Corp. and Telefon AB L.M. Ericsson, of Sweden, that has concentrated on the market for midrange phones. The companies said Sony Ericsson would license hardware and software for entry-level phones from Sagem and set up a development unit next to Sagem’s base in France.

More from the Sagem site about their deal with Sony Ericsson:

In order to allow for closer communication with the technical team of Sagem Communication, Sony Ericsson will establish a development unit dedicated to entry level mobile phones, to be located in the vicinity of Sagem Communication’s premises in Cergy, France. Through this co-operation, Sony Ericsson will be able to complete its entry level product offering and strengthen its position in this area of the market, whilst at the same time benefit from the technical know-how and the engineering capacity of Sagem Communication. The agreement will allow Sagem Communication to enhance the value of its technology and optimise its total industrial resources.

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