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Disposable phones may be out this year

Paper mobiles? Whatever next?

Mobile phones made almost entirely from paper could be available later this year.

Roughly twice the thickness of a credit card, the disposable 'phone-card-phone' will be made almost entirely from recycled paper products. It's estimated it will be supplied with 60 minutes of calling time, which can be topped up via a credit card, or just thrown away once used.

Because the phone is so cheap to produce phone companies may have to reduce tariffs, as there will no longer be any need to subsidise an expensive phone.

The phone-card-phone was developed by Randi Altschul, founder of San Francisco-based Dieceland. The first patent for the phone was received in November 1999 and has since received over 100 million orders to date. When news first broke of this development last year most journalists were sceptical, but it seems the promise has more substance than we thought.

The $10 phones should be available through high street stores, vending machines and as part of promotional deals. Altschul allegedly claims she's got orders for 300m headsets, due for release in the US in the third quarter of 2001. These could prove tough competition or a great opportunity for other pay-as-you-go mobile vendors in Europe. However, handset manufacturers may see this as pulling the rug from under them.

An all-in-one cheap and disposable phone sounds too good to be true, and we just hope the British weather doesn’t put a dampener on things.

DTC also has a paper laptop in development but this won't see the light of day for a while. The laptop, according to DTC, may set you back as little as $20, and is expected for launch by the end of 2002.


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