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[GreenYes] AP: Throw-Away Phone Tossed Into Cellular Market

Throw-Away Phone Tossed Into Cellular Market 
    Monday, March 19, 2001
    
BY KAREN A. DAVIS 
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS 

    SAN FRANCISCO -- Cellular users may be throwing away their phones by 
the end of this year. 

    Following the lead of companies touting disposable razors and 
cameras, Telespree Communications has unveiled plans to introduce a 
partly disposable cellular phone into the U.S. market by year's end. 

    The Telespree phones with AirClips, disposable clip-on battery packs 
that keep track of how many cellular minutes are left, will be priced at 
less than $30. 

    The AirClips will be sold in 60-, 90- and 120-minute packages at drug 
stores, supermarkets, gas stations and other retail outlets, a 
spokeswoman for the San Francisco-based company said. 

    Once they have used all the prepaid minutes, consumers can keep the 
colorful handsets and throw away the battery and airtime packs. 

    "Like the razor blade in a razor, the air clips can be changed. That 
is the only truly disposable part of the phone," Telespree Chief 
Executive Alon Segal said last week. 

    Marketed as simple and easy to use, the phones have only two buttons 
and use voice-recognition technology. To make a call, the user simply 
presses the on/off button and says the number. Telespree users also will 
be able to develop online speed-dial lists. 

    "Imagine giving a wireless phone to your 8-year-old child so he can 
call you to pick him up after school by saying, 'Call home,' " said 
Segal. 

    Segal said the new concept in prepaid phones will make cellular a 
technology that is "everywhere for everyone." 

    A voice message will greet a disposable phone user, telling him how 
many minutes are left on the airtime pack when the phone is turned on. 

    Bryan Prohm, a senior analyst with Gartner Dataquest, doubts the 
disposable phones -- with their limited usage capability -- will compete 
in mobile markets with major companies such as Nokia, Ericsson and 
Motorola. 

    But Prohm said the phones could "acclimate the more timid consumer to 
the wireless market," replacing calling cards and pay phones. 
    
   

(C) Copyright 2001, The Salt Lake Tribune 




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