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According to a recent World Bank study, adding ten more mobiles per 100 people in a typical developing nation boosts growth in GDP per person by a whole percentage point. Costing just 20 Euros and boasting a list of practical features, the Nokia 1280 is likely to account for a decent slice of those ten handsets.

It doesn’t have a sparkling colour screen or Wi-Fi – but it does have huge battery life, an anti-dust keyboard, scratch-resistant cover and a built-in torch. The GSM phone also comes with Nokia Life Tools, a software suite that puts valuable territory-tailored agricultural information and educational assistance in the hands of local workers and students in rural communities. The Nokia 1280 has multiple phone books and call trackers to encourage users to share the phone with their neighbours, an FM radio to pick up news or weather reports, and even MP3 ringtones.

If you only do one thing

Keep on chatting. With up to 8.5 hours’ talktime on a single charge of its battery, the Nokia 1280 can keep a whole community in touch before it needs to find a socket – often a rarity in many remote areas.


How does the globally affordable Nokia 1280 compare to some of the world’s most expensive and outrageous handsets?

Amosa Curva (£120,000 or 6,666 Nokia 1280s) – A BlackBerry weighed down with 62g of 18-carat gold and 4459 diamonds. Significantly less portable than the 82g Nokia 1280.

Diamond Crypto Smartphone (£750,000 or 41,700 Nokia 1280s) – Sure, this high-end Windows phone might be crafted from platinum, come edged with diamonds and mahogany, and is home to military-grade 256-bit encryption, but use the two phones in a dust storm and our money’s on the 1280.

Goldvish Le Million (£905,000 or over 50,000 Nokia 1280s) – You could pick up a single quad-band GSM phone glimmering with 120 ‘first water’ diamonds in a white gold chassis, or you could give an entire town a decent phone each. Your choice.