Orange unveils $40 smartphone with data, strikes Google deal

French telecoms company Orange has released a $40 smartphone that comes with text, minutes and data for the Middle East and Africa and struck a partnership with Google to bring local internet services to its customers.

The Orange Rise 31 is a 3G device with a 3 megapixel camera, 4 inch screen and runs Android. The $40 handset comes with a bundle of text messages, 500 megabytes of data per month and minutes, for an average of 3 months. After that, users will have to top up.

Educational content will be pre-loaded onto the device in local languages. The partnership with Google will see services such as Maps tailored to the market to allow people to find the nearest health clinic, for example.

It's the latest move by Orange to boost its presence in emerging markets in the Middle East and Africa. Revenues from the region increased 5.1 percent in 2015 and account for about 12 percent of Orange's total revenue. The company said it has 110 million mobile customers in the region with 4.4 million net additions last year.

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