April 28, 2014 6:40 pm JST

Thai carrier dtac to launch $60 smartphone

YUKAKO ONO, Nikkei staff writer

Total Access Communication (dtac) launches its smartphones starting at 1,990 baht.

BANGKOK -- Thailand's second-largest mobile carrier Total Access Communication, operating under the brand name "dtac," rolled out smartphone handsets from 1,990 baht ($61.75), which the company says are the cheapest smartphones on the Thai market.

     The new "Joey Jump" smartphones will come with one year of free, unlimited access to Facebook and the mobile messaging application Line for pre-paid subscribers. Also, dtac offers a value package for any Joey Jump user at 299 baht with free calls to dtac numbers from 5am to 5pm as well as unlimited Internet access.

      "The main targets are new smartphone users and current feature phone users who want to switch to using a smartphone," Senior Vice President Prapaprot Puprasert said in a statement.

     There are two models, both made in China.

     The 1,990-baht Joey Jump 3.5 features a 3.5 inch touchscreen and a 3 megapixel camera, and the Joey Jump 4.0, priced at 2,990 baht, is equipped with a 4.0-inch touchscreen, a 5 megapixel main camera and a 0.3 megapixel camera for self portraits.

     Both mount a Dual Core CPU, 4GB memory and the Android 4.2 Jelly Bean OS. Puprasert said, "Users want a mobile phone that can easy connect to social media and take photos."

     At dtac, currently 16 million subscribers use conventional feature phones, down 6% from a year earlier. In contrast, smartphone users have jumped 54% over the past year thanks to a growing coverage of 3G services, which started in the country just a year ago, and the wide spread of social media such as Facebook, Line and Instagram.